Tuesday, December 18, 2018
WWII veteran, Father, Gentleman… How do you honor a man? Someone who put so many others before himself. How do you thank someone who has done so much for you, for the people around him and even strangers. My grandfather, Vernon Coffey, would have been 96 years old yesterday. Personally, I've learned so much from him: how to be a man, my sense of humor, humility, integrity, patience and so much more. When I think about him and all he did for the country and our family and for the people who worked for him and for me, I am so grateful and yet I wish I knew him better. I wish I had asked him for more stories. I wish I had done more with him. I wish I would have thanked him more. How do I truly honor someone who shaped who I am today? When President George HW Bush died on November 30, the US Navy posted a picture with a caption that said, "Fair winds and following seas, sir. We have the watch." What a perfect statement. It honored him with grace and dignity. There is no way to mention everything he has done serving his country and his family, there was no political jab or mention of missteps, there was no need for sadness. Instead, it was a quick salute to the man and basically said, "You've done enough here on earth and left a legacy, we'll take it from here."
No matter who the person is to you, if they've left some sort of positive impact on you, your gift to them is to carry it with pride and integrity. There is no perfect person out there – you can just be the best you can be by doing the next right thing. While you may miss the person, the laughter, the stories and your friendship, you are left with the part of them they left in you. Take that with you everywhere. That's how you honor someone.
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." – John F. Kennedy