Grandpa’s love for the sea was like that of an athlete for his game – hungry, calculated, and respectful. While it makes some feel trapped, Grandpa submerged himself into anything related to the sea and embodied its best attributes. While the ocean’s toil served as a reminder of both his accomplishments and struggles, he was still calmed by its expanse, as if the waves provided supplementary comfort and warmth throughout the battles and separation from his family. I imagine that at times he was lonely, cold, tired, and even scared, but Grandpa was resilient, loyal, and stoic; his service at sea taught him to be so – he was a Vice Admiral after all.
I remember playing soccer in elementary school. Grandpa came to watch my game from the sidelines. I don’t remember anything about the game except that I kept looking over to make sure he was watching. I was distracted, but I didn’t want anything more than for him to be proud of me.
In the three years that I’ve lived in the Dominican Republic, I’ve never felt closer to my Grandpa – surrounded by ocean and driven to serve. He showed my family how to be generous while teaching us to hold ourselves and everyone around us to the highest of standards. It is Grandpa’s graceful confidence, energy for life, and courage to achieve what he believes in that fuels my desire to be the best I can be every day.
RIP VADM Thomas Weschler, 1917-2016.