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Let me start off by saying that---One, Im an Irishman, and Two, I may have had a drink or two to help me get

through this. And I think everyone knows that when you mix an Irishman and a couple pints together-- theres always a chance for a few tearsits just part of our Irish DNA. So Ill start with a tough story and if I can get through that --then I should be OKuntil the end. Well, the middle is no cake walk either, but let me get started. My father died on March 21st, 2012 A tough concept to even say out loudnever mind acknowledge it in my own heart. Melike and I were with him at about 8:45 that evening, when he left this world. The strange thing is I knew I would be with him at the end. I dont know why, its not because I think Im special or that I planned to stay with him 24 hours a day. I just somehow knew I would be there. The fact that it was me with Dad could be explained easily by my Mom using one of my favorite Mom quotes ---Frankie, of my four kids, you were the one born with a horse shoe up your. Well, maybe I wont give the whole quote. Let us just say my Mom thought I was the lucky one in the family. And I was lucky to be with Dad on the 21st, and even luckier to have Melike with me. I was sitting beside Dad with my hand on him, patting him so he knew his family was there. When he took his last breath I looked at Melike and just gave kind of a deep sigh. Melike got up and gave dad a gentle hug and a kiss ---- Now, Just as she did this, just as she was having this touching moment and Just as my Dads soul was passing on, her phone rangone time - loud and clear. Ill tell youmodern technology.

The strange thing was that later on, when we checked the phone to see who had called, there was no record of the call. It wasnt until we told this story to Diane that we could make sense of what happened. She simply said Oh, Dad got his wings. As soon as she said that, I knew what she met. Now for everyone over 40, Im sure we have all seen Its a Wonderful Life. If you have kids, youve probably seen it three or four times. Its a real Christmas classic. It tells the story of an angel, who is trying to earn his wing. The angel Clarence- shows the main character, George Bailey, during his time of doubt, what the world would have been like had he not existed. At the end of the movie a bell rings just a Clarence in awarded his wings. The audience learns that the way heaven announces that an angel has earned his wings, is to ring a bell. Well, for dad, I guess ringing a phone bell was the best heaven could do on such short notice. So, I guess maybe modern technology isnt so bad after all. And yes Mom, -- I am the lucky one, Melike and I got to see and hear Dad receive his wings. And He certainly spent his life earning them-- he had lived A wonderful life. He was a wonderful husband, a wonderful father and a wonderful person. My father earned his wings during a very difficult time. He was part of what we all call The greatest generation of Americansand you know, that isnt just a tag-line or a label. Its just a fact. My Dads generation faced challenges our comfortable world could not even comprehend. They went through a great depression, a great war, social and technological changes that would spin your head. Yet they

never wavered, never developed the entitlement mentality that is so prevalent in todays world. Whenever my father spoke of his childhood, which was right in the middle of the great depression, his stories were fun, usually about his times with his brothers Jimmy and Ray sneaking into the worlds fair or jumping on the back of the trolley to go uptown to sneak into a Yankees game. They were all great stories. Dad never spoke of his past in terms of how hard they were, or of what he didnt have. He had what was most important - family. A value that he taught all his children, and I hope we have taught to ours. The one thing that shaped Dads life almost as much as his family, was the United States Marine Corp. In 1943, Dad enlisted in the Marines and went to war in the Pacific. Dad almost never talked about the war. It was hard for him. One story he did tell me was about the worse assignment he had during his time on Iwo Jima. Now, you would think it would have been the time he had spend in combat but it wasnt. It was his two days on the back lines assigned to cemetery duty. He hated seeing so many dead marines. I think it so appropriate that tomorrow he will be returned to his comrades to rest forever with his fellow marines. He also spoke once about his ability to deal with the horrors of war. Dad said he thought he could deal with it because he had come from such a tough neighborhood in New York -- and other marine maybe didnt come from as harsh an environment. I clearly remember him saying that -- and my immediate impression was that he was almost apologetic for his bravery -- or that he was looking to give other

marines, who may not have been as brave, a good excuse or reason why they had given into their fears. Dad said that before he was wounded, he was able to see the flag that was raised over Mount Suribachi. Thats just amazing. We did not just lose our father; America has lost a part of its history. He was wounded days later. Dad was hit by shrapnel from a mortar round after he exposed himself while trying to rescue another wounded marine. He told me he had gone through basic with this marine and everyone knew he wasnt going to make it. During basic he kept breaking down and crying. Sure enough, during an engagement that marine was wound and was crying hysterically. Thats when dad went out to get him, almost getting killed and in doing so -- he earned his purple heart. Iwo Jima, where uncommon valor was common place. Tomorrow, Dad will join his fellow marines with stories of the Suribachi flag and pieces of shrapnel from that mortar still lodged in his leg. I tell ya, Dads going to be treated like a rock star. Now - like I said. Dad didnt talk much about the war. But of course, Brian and I wanted to know more. So we came up with a plan. We would take Dad out one night, buy him a few pints, and then start asking questions about the war. Seemed simple enough, Right? Well Penny Lane Pub, four or five beers later, we execute the plan. We had forgotten about that DNA thing remember - Irish, plus beer, equals tears -- and sure enough, when my father started talking about the war and his fellow marines, he began to tear up. Brian and I quickly aborted this ill-conceived plan and changed the subject. I have always felt awful about that night, about that plan--- and can tell everyone here and now --- it was all Brians idea.

Now, thats not the first time I saw my Dad tear up--- or should I say --not the first time I saw my fathers eyes sweat,--- which is what I tell my son, Ryan, my eyes are doing during a sad movie. My Dad was the perfect mix of tough marine, hard-nosed cop, and unbelievably sensitive and loving husband and father. Now, I could tell story after story about my dad. I havent even touched his police stories or the advice he gave Brian and I on how to be a good cop. But I thought it might be better to tell some other peoples stories or memories. Luckily, at Dads 80th birthday party Kim, my Dads second grandchild, asked everyone to write down a memory of growing up with Dad. I think 10 years later, now, at this time, it would be nice to rehear some of those recollections. I cant read everyones memories in the book, so I chose just the four childrens. Sandy spoke of the values she learned from Dad: Religion- Honesty- RespectShe also spoke about learning to live a life helping others- and I quote: Learning from my dads example as a New York City Policeman and later as a Prosecutors Investigator, led me -- as well as my brothers and sister, -- to choose careers in community service. Diane spoke of going fishing with dad making sure to point out that they seldom caught anything She also told a funny story of a thanksgiving meal she cooked for mom and dad. And believe me -Diane is no cook When Dad went to carve the over-cooked turkey Diane remembered him jokingly saying After careful examination, it appears what we have here is a dead squirrel.

Man, that is so Dad. But Diane did add a serious note - and I quote Dad, I want you to know that you have been my strength, my rock to depend on, all my life. You have always been there for me with gentle guidance and support, Thank you. Brian told a story about his final physical to get on with the NYPD and I quote: While sitting in line for the eye exam with the New York City police Dept.,-- a test I couldnt pass in a million years, Dad disappeared for a few minutes. Later, as I stared into the machine, the examiner asked me to indicate which way the letter E was facing on a line I could hardly see. When I took my first guess the examiner asked in a questioning manner- Which way? Sensing I had guessed wrong, I changed my answer. When I heard which way? again, I knew that the fix was in -and dad had worked his magic. Signed Officer Brian Monahan NYPD My message was this recollection; It was fifth grade, Mr. Lossos class. The question was As you start your adult life, who is your role model? I remember my answer clearly for two reasons. First, it seemed like such an obvious answer and second, I stood alone in my response. Most of the kids named sports figures, actors or presidents. I named my father. Fast forward 25 year. Im at a Police command staff retreat for my department. These are people that have risen to the top of their profession. As an ice-breaker, the facilitator asked us to stand and answer a simple but important question Who has been our role

model as we moved though our career. Again, the answer seemed obvious. And once again I stood alone in my response. Most of the other commanders had sophisticated answers- Political figures, business icons, historic and religious leader. I named my father. I will end my words today with the words my mother wrote to my father in this 80th birthday book. And I quote: Frank, My memory is of our first meeting in central park where, under the guise of a concerned police officer, you asked me out for a date. Who would have ever believed that 50 years later, we would have so many wonderful memories. You have been a kind and considerate husband and father --- and I wouldnt trade one day of those 50 years.

Mom- I think in those lines you have captured how each and every one of us in this room feels. We too, wouldnt have traded one day either. Dad I cant say we will miss you -- because we cant miss what we will have with us, for the rest of our lives and that is you. But I sure can say -- we all love you very, very much.

Now, I think this is an opportunity for other people to make comments if they would like.

When I was at the age of 8, I heard about Pop-pops story of enlisting into the marine core. And that story inspired me to write a book about a marine in WWII. When Im finished writing this story, Im going to dedicate it to Pop-pop. Thank you Pop-pop, you were a fantastic grandfather, father, brother, husband, and friend. Ryan

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