My Grandpa took me to my first hockey game ever, he's from Boston but lived in Newtown, CT at the time. It's ironic that I've been to 56 Red Wings games (I count, because me and a friend of mine have a running tally of who knows more about Hockeytown, he's only been to 53 cuz he sucks), but my first was a Hartford Whalers game, against Montreal in 1992...I was 6 years old. I had been playing for a year, skating for 3 years, but had never been to any pro or semi-pro game. It's one of my fondest childhood memories, although Hartford lost 4-1, I had a great time.
So, Gramps is my hockey hero, but Pops is my real life hero. Just a stand-up guy who f*cked up in early life cuz his parents gave him no direction. He learned how to work hard and earn a good living the hard way, and is also a veteran of the Persian Gulf (USN, retired 9 year veteran). My mom keeps me in line, and doing well scholastically. My Dad taught me to be a man, and smacks me around if I don't listen to my mom. It's an effective system.
My hat goes off to your Pops. I'm lucky that my Dad and my uncle, both veterans of the Persian Gulf, and my aforementioned Grandpa, a veteran of the Korean War, did not suffer any significant casualties. Your Pops sounds like a man of great character...I'm sure you're really proud, and rightfully so.