To my grandfathers, Victor McFadden and Walter Dorgan. One of whom I knew like a father and the other whom I never got a chance to meet. Our families are who we are and where we are today because of your choice to serve. Thank you. Until we meet again.
Below is a picture that used to hang in my mother’s childhood bedroom at my grandparents’ house in South Bend. My maternal grandfather, Cpl. Victor Leo McFadden, USMC, rehabilitating in California after losing his drawing hand to a grenade during the Korean War when he was just 23 years old. Vic was a gifted artist and was on his way to become a commercial illustrator before joining the Marine Corps. He and my Grandma Bonnie moved to South Bend, Ind., from their home in Grand Haven, Mich., where Vic got his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Notre Dame on the G.I. Bill. He and Bonzo put all five of their kids through Notre Dame, where my mom met my dad Jim, the son of a U.S. Navy veteran from Chicago. I sometimes wonder if I’d have even been born had Vic not lost his hand during the war.