When I was growing up in Bay City, Michigan, there was always talk about World War II. My mother and my aunts and uncles were directly affected by it and talked often about where they were when Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941. Their memories of that period was vivid and they had plenty of stories.
My mother's brother, Paul Moll, served in the South Pacific during that period. He served with my dad who was introduced to my mother by him. I never knew my dad, but I got to know my uncle really well. He served as a quiet mentor, a template for what a real man looked like in all aspects of life and somebody who lived during one of the most tumultuous times in our history.
I wish I would have had an iPhone video camera during our many conversations. He talked about growing up with five brothers and six sisters on a farm in the Thumb of Michigan and losing both parents at a young age. He grew up in a family unit where the older brothers and sisters parented and provided for the younger ones.
Then he went into the Navy and was shipped off to the South Pacific. Through it all, he persevered, raised two kids, got to know his grandkids and touched a whole lot of people including me.
I pray that I can "pay it forward" and share the same qualities with those around me.