When I saw the heading for this category it was easy to identify who's story I would share.
My paternal grandfather, Boyd W. Stone Sr. ("Gramps") was a combat veteran of World War I and II. He served with the 2nd Infantry Division in WWI, 5th Machine Gun BN, and was awarded the Silver Star and a "wound stripe" (subsequently changed to a Purple Heart). He joined The American Legion early in St. Louis and served as commander of Terminal Railroad Post 85 in 1938.
Gramps worked for the railroad so he was able to take his family (grandma, an Auxiliary member; Aunt June, junior auxiliary; and my Dad, SAL Drum and Bugle Corps) to most national Legion conventions during the 20s and 30s. Dad kept a scrapbook of these trips and it's one of my most treasured possessions.
When my Dad was drafted for WWII Gramps "re-upped" and was commissioned as a captain (later major) in the 2nd Railway Service unit. On D+11 he went into Normandy with an advanced party to inspect the railroad lines left in the area and was subsequently shot by a German sniper (his 2nd Purple Heart).
Luckily, he survived to provide me with a great example until his death in 1982. Gramps' stories of the Legion and his service during the two wars were my favorite entertainment growing up. As a result, at the conclusion of my own service in the Army I was proud to join the Legion, and more recently, the Legion Riders here in Wisconsin.
The last entries in my Dad's scrapbook were of the Milwaukee National convention in 1941 with a picture of Gramps carrying the Legion flag in the opening parade. A few years ago the convention returned to Milwaukee and I was honored to be one of the Legion Riders leading the opening parade. I know Gramps was riding with me.
In honor of my Dad (a veteran of WWII and Korea), I became a dual member by joining SAL a few years ago. When asked who my heroes were growing up, it is without hesitation and with a great deal of pride I stand tall and say, "my Grandpa, my Dad and (because I grew up in St. Louis) Stan "the Man" Musial.