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Lessons Learned from the Greatest Generation


By Dennis Schiraldi

3-minute read

I thought I’d share a personal story with you as we head into a holiday weekend…

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and in remembrance and to honor all the veterans on Memorial Day that gave the ultimate sacrifice on serving our country.

Yesterday reminded me of my grandfather, a WWII veteran.

While he survived the bullets of storming the beaches of during the D-Day invasion, he was taken way too early by cancer when I was only 15 years old, just a horrible disease and know that it impacts so many families and friends.

I’ll always remember him for how he lived than rather how he left…

He had a profound impact on my work ethic. My grandmother would tell me “your grandfather is a jack of all trades and a master of none…”

Which I always thought was funny…

After the war he became a boilermaker in the mill, but as luck would have it, the mills closed down.

With four mouths to feed he became the janitor at our school because it was heated with a boiler.

My grandfather, like many from the greatest generation, was/is a man’s man.

He taught me how to change a bike tire, which to this day every time I get a flat I think of him. He rode a bike daily all through his senior years. A man ahead of his time.

A constant tinkerer, quick-witted, I’d help him mow his lawn, work around the house and he’d sometimes give me a few bucks, mostly we’d share his homemade iced tea and conversation with wisdom beyond my years that I now finally understand.

He was never in too big a hurry, never sweated the little things, you’d often find him on the front porch holding court, very proud of his outdoor green carpet, self-installed of course, a funny story for another time about a bottle of bubbles, spillage and a butt whooping.

At family outings, you’d find him at the grill, pony bottle of beer in hand, which to this day is probably when I man the grill all summer long, beer in hand, of course, to make him proud =)

One of the most important things he instilled in me from a very early age was the value of hard work. He’d say to me, “if you cansleep at night you probably did work hard enough that day.”

Yesterday my day was filled from client meetings, photo shoots, recording a podcast, scouting locations for future shoots, dropping and picking kids up at baseball, running to a city council meeting for a marketing consultation, and then finally home.

Not nearly storming the beaches of Normandy or the backbreaking work of the steel mills.

But a taxing day none-the-less…

I thought I share it with you. Needless to say my head hit the pillow last night and I was out, my Grandfather was right, if you put enough work in during the day, you certainly sleep good at night.

Here’s to all the Veterans that make this a great nation, including my own Dad, grandfathers, and uncles…

Thank you for serving our country, showing me the way, so I can enjoy the freedom to do what I do…

Here’s to all of you working hard and taking a minute to enjoy your weekend, like DMB says, “don’t burn the day!”

ABOUT Dennis Schiraldi

I'm dedicated to the ongoing professional development of marketing, business, sales and design professionals online via our blog, webinars, Facebook Live, etc. and in-person workshops, public speaking and our annual conference.

In addition to being the founder of the premier marketing event of the year in Youngstown, Ohio I provide content marketing and lead generation strategy both in a consulting role and day-to-day management of the strategy.

I am also the founder of the Icons of Youngstown, a high-end lifestyle print publication, featuring iconic brands, businesses and people + up and comers in a 5-county area surrounding Youngstown, Ohio.

I teach part-time at Youngstown State University in the Department of Communications and instruct courses on social media marketing.

My most import job is being a husband, a Dad to 4-awesome kids and owner of one very unruly Labrador retriever named Hooper.

I'm a big fan of outdoor activities including mt. biking and snowboarding with my kids, hiking with Hooper, and golf. I'm a BBQ junkie, I will literally talk your ear off about making pulled pork!


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