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Never forget
Time to learn from your elders
Daniel Kiewel - 2020

“Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days,” Job 12:12

Today marks 77 years since D-Day, the pivotal battle on the beaches of Normandy, France during World War II.

Each time this day is marked, I feel a tinge of regret, remembering my late grandfather, who passed away in 2008.

Twenty-three-year-old Harry Emerson, after marrying my grandmother, Marion Wilson, about two weeks after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, enlisted in the Army. During the war, he served as a meteorologist on the island of Okinawa, helping to prepare weather reports for crucial Pacific bombing runs. Though he was not on the front lines, the lives of countless soldiers depended on the work of my grandfather and his colleagues.

As a journalist, I get to hear many people tell their stories. The regret I feel comes from not spending more time listening to my grandfather tell his.

In my youthful ignorance, I did not realize the treasures I could take from hearing those stories – of what it means to face adversity head-on, to sacrifice everything for something far greater than yourself, and the pain that comes from remembering those who do not make it home.

There are so few left who remember those perilous days, and the numbers grow smaller everyday.

It is a stark reminder that our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, have troves of wisdom to pass along from their well-troden paths on this earth. But we are not guaranteed tomorrow with them.

So, instead of dismissing their tales with an impatient eye-roll or dismissing them entirely, take time today to be a captive audience to those with a little more silver in their hair.

Whatever you walk through in life, there is someone who has walked the road ahead of you.

So don’t miss the chances you have left. Sit down with your parents and ask them questions. Call your grandparents and let them tell you about their lives.

You’d be amazed what gems of wisdom can come from opening your ears and heart and treasuring what they have to say.