My grandfather was born in a dangerous world.
It was 1918, the First World War was raging, and the Spanish flu pandemic was claiming lives by the tens of millions. But he was armed with his keen intelligence and the values instilled by his hard-working immigrant parents. He excelled academically and went to college. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago, where he went on to law school and Law Review. He fell in love and married, and just as his legal career was beginning and he was ready to start a family, his country was drawn into another world war.
A few months after Pearl Harbor, figuring there would be a draft, he decided that he’d like to be a naval officer. As he told the story to me, the recruitment officer, perhaps in denial about the manpower the Navy would need for the undertaking ahead, was lukewarm about accepting him at first, and was struck by his persistence. He didn’t know he’d been accepted until he got an envelope in the mail addressed to Ensign Seymour Tabin.