A veteran's day salute to a grandfather

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Hello. Every year each team member writes a post so that people see the personal side of the crazy people who own and plan Inspire. This year I'm handling my writing assignment a little differently. Veteran's Day has always been a somber holiday and a time to give thanks to the men and women who have served and are serving our country in every corner of the world. I have classmates from Maine Maritime Academy and one from high school  that are on active duty and I'd like to thank them for their courage and sacrifice.

Veterans Day is also a holiday that has a very personal connection to me as I think of what my grandfather endured as an engineer in the Pacific during WWII on the USS Ticonderoga. He sadly passed away 7 years ago and is sorely missed.

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Here's a story from grandfather. It's still hard to fathom what these men went through in the Pacific during WWII. When I was at Maine Maritime I came home from my first cruise on the TV State of Maine which was an old steamship. I was your typical college kid complaining about how hard I had it on the cruise. The boiler room could get to 120+ degrees in warm water cruising. My Gramp who was almost a never quiet man started telling me the story of almost dying himself in boiler room in very soft and slow voice. Two Japanese Kamikazes rammed his ship on the morning of Jan 21, 1945. The ship was on fire and sinking so they captain ordered the closing of and flooding of compartments, magazines and all ventilation to the engineering spaces to prevent further flooding as the ship was listing 10 degrees.

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The quote below is from the NavSource and USS Ticonderoga Veteran's Association.

Wounded denizens of the deep often attract predators. Ticonderoga was no exception. The other kamikazes pounced on her like a school of sharks in a feeding frenzy. Her antiaircraft gunners struck back with desperate, but methodical, ferocity and quickly swatted three of her tormentors into the sea. A fourth plane slipped through her barrage and smashed into the carrier's starboard side near the island. His bomb set more planes on fire, riddled her flight deck, and injured or killed another 100 sailors-including Capt. Kiefer. Yet, Ticonderoga's crew refused to submit. Spared further attacks, they brought her fires completely under control not long after 1400; andTiconderoga retired painfully.

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He told me it got to 160 degrees in that space and that he got to the point that he "prayed to the Good Lord for the ship to split open" so water could flood the space and he could drown instead of dying from the heat or being burned to death. (I still remember that quote from him today) At the last minute they got the fires under control and opened ventilation to the space. The ship limped back to Puget Sound Navy Yard for extensive repairs before returning to the Pacific and arrived in Tokyo Bay four days after the surrender to MacArthur and were present for the official treaty.

The flip side of war is my grandmother home in Maine managing a son and infant daughter, the death of a toddler, and the loss of her mother-in-law all within a year and all by herself. My mom has a letter from my Grams and I wonder if we could rise to the challenge in 2013. I'd like to think we could. My grandparents were tough Mainers.

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Make sure you thank a Veteran for their service. They make the ultimate sacrifices for us.