I promise I’m not bragging, but then again, I AM! The guy on the left in the picture above is one of the best men on my paternal family tree. He’s my cousin and our Grandfather’s namesake, Brigadier General Ernest Audino. This man has devoted his entire life to the betterment of not just his American brethren, but his Kurdish brethren as well. He’s a pretty big ordeal and someone to be honored to know, much less share first blood with. The man on the right is “The Lion Of Handrin”, and these are my cousin’s words of homage to him:
I‘m so proud of “The General”, as I call him, as are my two kids. The stories of his accomplishments and survival are beyond reprieve. We talk about him often to anyone who will listen and are always grateful for his endless service to this country that is often neither appreciated nor recognized.
Ironically, I thought of him yesterday when out of the blue, one of the most beautiful and thoughtful ballads I’ve ever heard cued onto my stereo. This song always brings a tear to my eye and a knot to my stomach when I sit with and absorb it, and try to conceptualize how in the actual HELL it would feel to be the angel having to say these words inside his own head after having had to watch so many other angels fly away. It’s literally mind-numbing to think about. I have long thought that every American teenager should have to listen to it at least once so that perhaps they might really get a better understanding of what countless others have had to go through so they could be “free” to sit and listen to it in the first place. Honestly? There are a fair amount of adults that could stand to spend some time with this song as well, so that they too might better appreciate “the angels flying away of it all” the next time they dare think about complaining about this beautiful nation that we live in.
At the end of the day, I’m just so grateful to all the men and women in my family that stood up for me this way. There are a handful of American soldiers on my maternal family tree as well, one of whom actually split his time between the Army and the Navy. Now that’s something! The military life is clearly not for everyone, and not every man or woman is cut from that cloth.
Meanwhile, having this song avail itself to my magical music wheel yesterday and thus remind me of how much I love it, just so happened to coincide with one of my favorite hero’s birthday! So, with that …
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GENERAL!
I love you, am prouder of you than all my endless words could say … and by the way? I just KNOW that Grandpa is watching you through his telescope and smiling from ear to ear! As it turns out, we have some “lions” of our very own on this family tree, and you are certainly one of them!