I received news that one of my favorite Uncles had died while I was traveling. It was not expected and I immediately began to think of all the times my Uncle had taken me to lunch during college, provided great advice, and showed kindness to others but humbly, donating moeny to my cousin;s (who is a Priest) homeless shelter without ever telling my cousin.
But for me, during this time, I discovered that my Uncle had also been awarded a Purple Heart. I knew he had been in the Army, and that the experience impacted his life forever. But I had never heard what happened. He wouldn’t talk about it. But I discovered this story during this past weekend. And I wanted to know more.
The Army posted to its Purple Heart Community my Uncle’s Obitrary. And a friend of my Uncle posted a comment so I reached out to him. I asked him to tell me about my Uncle in the war and what had happened.
And the Power of Social that I evangelize about in the business world touched my heart. My Uncle’s friend used this community to save a story for our family. This friend that we didn’t know about was a retired Lawyer now and he wrote me things about my Uncle I never knew. He had been drafted into the Army during WW II and served in the Infantry. But I didn’t know he was at D-Day on the Beaches of Normandy in the 3rd wave to hit the beach. I didn’t know that he was struck by an enemy bullet in the arm while he was helping another troop member. And I didn’t know that he requested no ceremony for this honor because he felt like he was “doing his duty to his country”. There is more, but I won’t bore you with it. But this day was special to me for a lot of reasons and one is this social touch.
Yesterday, I did my Uncle’s Eulogy. It was hard. He was always a man of faith and family to me. He was always 100% Lithunian to me. But I learned what a man of Freedom he was.
I have watch funerals on TV where Taps is played. But until you have heard it live, and felt its impact, you don’t know how powerful it is. I thank my new friend who came to the funeral who gave me this new story through social forms. I thank the Army yesterday for their respect and powerful impact at the funeral. And know that my Uncle will live in my heart forever.
His story will now live on forever.