Grandfather Laughlin Waters This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   My grandfather, Laughlin Waters, was a heroic man and is my hero. His family, whichhad been financially comfortable, struggled throughout his Great Depressionchildhood. Laughlin went to high school in Los Angeles and worked at the postoffice at night to pay for his schooling. At 15, he joined the Army Reserve Corpsand learned how to ride a horse. After college at UCLA he was halfway through lawschool when World War II came along. So, he enlisted in the Army.

Laughlinwent through one of the most horrific events of World War II when he landed onthe beaches of Normandy on D-Day. He was a captain and stationed in Chambois, acity in northern France. Laughlin's orders were to protect the city from theGerman onslaught. The Americans were in trenches because enemy fire caused debristo fly into the air all around them. Suddenly he saw a man hiding close to theaction, but getting to him would leave him in a vulnerable position. On closerinspection he saw that this man was not American or German - he was wearing aPolish uniform. Laughlin decided to risk it and ran from his hiding place whilegun and tank fire flew every which way.

Laughlin knew only a little Polishand the man only a little bit more English, so conversation was terse. He managedto find out that the man was a Polish captain attacking the Germans. So, for thevery first time, America and Poland joined forces and together they helped defeatthe Germans and saved Chambois. The people there erected a depiction of theirbattle as well as a special commemorative stone to honor my grandfather. He leftthe war a hero, and when he died this year, the people of Chambois held aceremony and lowered an American flag to half-staff in his honor.

Afterthe war, Laughlin finished law school and became a lawyer. He had a successfulpolitical career in the state assembly where, because he was so noble and kind,he made many friends. Laughlin was so successful that he decided to run forgovernor. He lost to Ronald Reagan before the primary and made up his mind tocontinue to serve the public. He turned down more lucrative work and becameUnited States Attorney in Los Angeles and later a judge. Laughlin remained ajudge for the Federal Court of California for the rest of his life. He was a manwho loved his country and was extremely patriotic. The fact that Laughlin wasalways in service to his country proves that he would do whatever he thought bestfor his country.

My grandfather accomplished many goals that others onlydream of. Yet the greatest aspect of my grandfather was his passion and love forlife. Even in the last few years when he could not move, he hung on simplybecause he loved his family so much and wanted to see us all. My grandfather wascourageous on the battlefield, noble and just as a judge, and a man whoseaccomplishments outnumber what I could ever achieve. I will always love him forthe grandfather he was.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Dr. T said...
Feb. 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm
My two sons and I visited Chambois in 2011. We met a man, Gerard, who knew your grandfather. Gerard took us into his office and showed us Captain Waters dress uniform that he had encased in glass. He said his family sent it to him when he died. Gerard said he helped his outfit load mortars to help stave off the Germans. He also shared the each morning he awakens and asks himself, "Why did so many thousands of Americans come so many thousands of miles to give us our freedom back and they did... (more »)
 
jaachap said...
May 19, 2010 at 1:48 am
I slightly knew your grandfather when I was a teen. He and the man I would mary were best friends. 'Loch' saw me on a day when I should have been in school and scolded me; he was about nineteen. Best scolding I ever had. I too commend him. 
 
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