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Papa Ross, World War II hero and loving grandfather, was born 100 years ago today

Lloyd Lee Ross, my grandfather, was born on March 24, 1918. Today would have been his 100th birthday.

Papa Ross was one of a kind. And I — like so many others whose lives he touched — loved him so much.

After he died in 2011, I wrote a column about him that appeared in the Father’s Day edition of The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, Tenn.:

By Bobby Ross Jr. | Special to The Commercial Appeal

CEDAR GROVE, Tenn. — The name and the dates on the tombstone jumped out at me immediately.

Danial Ross. Born: 1791. Died: 1842.

My grandfather, father, brother and I drove out to this middle-of-nowhere cemetery in rural West Tennessee, about 100 miles northeast of Memphis, on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Leaves crumbled under my sneakers, and the sun bore down on my balding head as I explored this piece of my family’s past.

At first glance, I told myself, this could be any old country cemetery. The ugliness of faded plastic flower arrangements and skinny, branch-exposed trees struck me. I smelled dust and saw weeds and wondered how often anyone ventures out to this seemingly forgotten patch of God’s green Earth.

Yet, I sensed that I was experiencing something significant, that somehow this was sacred ground for me.

Read the full column.

 

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