The Legacy of a World War II Veteran, My Grandfather

For 32 years I’ve felt like I’ve had the luckiest life. My dad was in the Coast Guard, so I got to live in some cool cities, make some great friends, spend tons of time on the beach, and become best friends with my brother and sisters. Because I was born a thousand miles from where I live now and I went to three different high schools, you may say, “Oh, bless his heart!” But I’m telling you, I’m the luckiest person in the world. You may think that moving every couple of years would lay an unstable foundation for a family but you don’t know the whole story. You don’t know that this family has traditions. And one that continues to this very day is spending time with family in Florida. Every summer as a child our vacations were in Tallahassee and Monticello so that’s when I saw my grandparents the most. My experience is a bit different than some family who lived in Florida. They probably spent much more time with each other, but I’ll never forget the excitement of pulling into my grandparents driveways each summer when vacation started. I’ve got so many sweet memories. It’s just more proof I’m part of the luckiest family, probably since Mary and Joseph. For me, it all started with a couple of World War II heroes. One of those is my grandfather Foster Davis… Grand-daddy.

Receiving the Presidential Citation at a ceremony in Berlin, Germany

There are a lot of people that are proud of a lot of things. Athletes winning championships, or setting records. Scientists making brilliant discoveries. People accomplishing great things. But of all the reasons to be proud of anything, none of them, not one have the honor of being a Davis. That’s reserved for my family. So again, I’m telling you, I’m the luckiest person in the world because I get to carry on the Davis name as my middle name.

at St. Teresa Beach, Florida

 Some people aren’t proud of their names because their parents or grandparents didn’t care about setting a good example. But Grand-daddy set a great example. He had a choice just like everyone does. He could’ve lived more selfishly, he could’ve disengaged from the family, from his kids and grandkids. But I’ve got a Bible that proves he wasn’t like other grandparents. He wasn’t like other people. He wasn’t like other men. He was way better. He and Me-Mom gave me that Bible 20 years ago and I want to share the message he wrote in it.

Dear Ben,
A little poem I learned at school as a small boy, part of it comes to mind; “Over the hills and through the snow, to grandfather’s house we go.” This Bible relates; we must go to our Father God’s house often, here in His word for instruction, guidance, inspiration, and for reproof and forgiveness. In my long years of life here on earth, at times the pathway has been steep and rocky, sometimes treacherous even, but by going to Him in prayer, in meditation, in reading His word, He has sustained me EVERY TIME. So He will for you. That is my prayer. “…the glory of the Lord shall be your rear-guard.” Isaiah 58:8
Amen,
Grand-daddy Davis

GrandDaddy

That’s the Grand-daddy I love. The legacy that’s the Davis in me now. Last week was our family vacation in Tallahassee. I went fishing with my dad and brother-in-law. We were out there a few hours and decided to make a couple more drops before coming in to shore. On our last stop, just before we let the anchor down, my dad’s phone rang. It was my mom saying that Grand-daddy took a turn for the worse so we needed to come in to go see him. During our ride back to shore, I looked over to my left and saw a pelican flying beside us, about 40 yards out. You’re probably thinking, “Um, so what? It’s a pelican, there’s tons of pelicans,” but we were about 20 miles from land so it seemed odd. For a few minutes this pelican flew inches above the ocean surface, perfectly at our same speed. I stared at the pelican for a long time, thought about Grand-daddy and knew God was near in that moment. I felt so lucky to see that pelican. I looked farther back and saw another pelican catching up to the first one. It wasn’t long before they were flying together, and soon they were out of sight. That little moment is something I’ll never forget because I know Sunday, July 24th, Grand-daddy was the luckiest person when he finally caught up to the one he was chasing. And now they’re soaring together above the crystal sea.

I love you, Grand-daddy. I’ll see you soon enough.

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4 thoughts on “The Legacy of a World War II Veteran, My Grandfather

  1. So sorry to hear this….your grandparents (all of them) are remembered fondly! They took such good care of Erin and me our freshman year.
    What a lovely tribute to him….and how sweet the reunion will be someday. 🙂

  2. Ben this is amazing. I almost cried when I read what your Grandfather wrote in the Bible he gave you. You are one blessed fellow indeed.

    On another note when I saw your grandfather’s name I thought to myself “Foster would make a good boys name.” But just now I put that name and my new last name together…and well…yeah…

    You continue to be one of my favorite people that I met while in college. Thanks for always being you and for so often sharing your heart with the rest of us.

    • Are there any Foster Kidds in the audience. I see that hand! Oh, and another one. That would be a memorable day for so many people. haha!

      Thanks for reading and the nice comments. You are way too kind, but yes, college was a great time full of many good memories and friendships that have lasted! Thank you!

  3. Bahahahaha! Nope, no Foster Kidds here….My kid would so kill me…how did I end up with the last name people can make fun of?? I can not tell you how many Kidd jokes I have heard in the past 5 years…

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