He was a signalman, or a 'dah-dit' man as he would say, sending and relaying messages by Morse code. Joe would rarely talk about his experiences during the war as it was not a part of his life that he wished to remember. When he did, I remember sitting to listen attentively as he described the people he had met and how beautiful they were, as opposed to ever imparting to us the true horror of his experiences.
Just before my grandfather passed away from lung cancer, he propagated this fuchsia for me from a cutting taken off the plant he grew in his backyard. Apparently, it is an old variety that isn't very popular any more. As a child I called them 'Joe's ballerina flowers', as they reminded me of a graceful dancer in a pretty pink tutu. Now they remind me of my grandfather Joe and what a truly amazing and inspirational person he was.
Thanks for teaching me so much, Joe.
They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, not the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.