I believe that it is the duty of the living to honor the memory of those who have gone before them. My grandfather, Myles A. Walsh III, passed away in February 2008 after a brave battle with cancer. Before my grandpa passed he left me with something that I now value more than any object I could ever possess. He left me with four glass marbles. He gave me these marbles teary-eyed, one night in December, over a bowl of clam chowder. He told me how important they were to not only him but our entire family. This, being the only time I had seen my Grandpa cry, moved me greatly, and it showed me just how valuable these four little glass balls were to him and how valuable they should be to me.
He told me that they had been his grandfather’s and how they had been passed on to him when he was a young boy. The marbles had been my great-great grandfather’s only possession when he came to Ellis Island at age 10 from England. They not only represent the humble beginnings of my family, but they also show how far we have progressed. So like his grandfather gave the marbles to him, my Grandpa gave them to me.
By entrusting this family heirloom to me, my grandfather gave me the duty and the ability to continue a tradition, one that would honor the memories of him, his father and his grandfather. One day I will be able to honor their memories by passing these marbles on to my grandson.
To him I will inscribe a message on the back of a business card, as my grandpa did for me. And it will read “These four marbles were given to Myles A. Walsh III, a man with a beautiful mind and generous heart, by his grandfather Myles A. Walsh I. They were his only possessions when he stepped foot in America and should serve as a reminder of the hard work and dedication that has enabled our family to thrive in this country. So as he gave these to his Grandson, my Grandfather, I am giving them to you, a tradition that you will one day be able to continue. Signed, proudly: his great-great grandson, Myles Alexander Walsh V.” It is in this way that I will honor the memory of these great men who have gone before.
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