My Grandfather, Our Hero

Charles Mueller

On Veterans Day, we honor all those who have sacrificed their time, their families, their friends and above everything else, their lives for the great people of the United States of America. They have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice everything for US.

My grandfather, Charles M. Mallory, is one such veteran I celebrate. He was a Navy pilot stationed on the Intrepid during WWII flying Hellcats. I grew up hearing him tell one story in particular, of a November day in 1944 when the Intrepid took a direct hit by a Kamikaze above the ready room where Navy pilots waited to be called to duty. He had been sitting in the room with his fellow pilots when the alarm went off that Kamikaze’s were in the area. Suddenly, as he described, his instincts kicked in and he bolted for his plane, which lucky for him was already on the elevator waiting to head up to the flight deck. Had it not, I probably wouldn’t be writing this today. He was the last plane to take off before the third Kamikaze hit, killing many of his friends, his brothers that day. I’ll never forget the risks he and his fellow servicemen had to take that November afternoon just to give me the chance at living a life of my own choice.

After the war my grandfather was acknowledged as a Navy Double Ace, a hero with 10 confirmed kills, which he would tell you in secret was really more like 12 or 13. Having served his country his next chapter in his life was about the pursuit of happiness, the American Dream. He started his own company, married the love of his life, had a family, explored the outdoors and did everything he could to help anyone he could because his service to this country and its people never stopped just because we weren’t at war. And that is the thing about our veterans; they never stop making this country what it is. They protect it from the threats outside and help build it up from the inside.

My grandfather is not unique. Millions of people are waking up today each knowing a friend or family member with a similar story of giving their country their all. Without their great sacrifices, the world as we know it would not be possible. We owe everything to them and that is why Veterans Day is such an important day. It is the day we remind all those who serve this country that we not just understand, but we appreciate everything they do so that the majority of those who do not serve this country through service in the military can continue to service America in the many other ways that make it great.

Veterans Day is a time to reach out to all those you know, and those you don’t, who together have helped create the United States, this land of opportunity that we love so much.

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