My Grandfather’s WWII Experience Changed My Views on Palestine

Times change and so, does it seem, the (dis)honor of war.

E.B. Johnson | NLPMP | Editor
9 min readNov 20, 2023


A photo of the author’s grandfather in a local newspaper (Author’s Own Image)

In 2009, I got a writing assignment that changed me. I was a sophomore in college and got the monumental (and interesting) task of sitting down to interview a grandparent of a great-grandparent. The purpose was clear, sit down with them and find out what their life was like when they were young. We had to get the whole scoop. How did they grow up? What was work like? How did they keep healthy? How did they live?

At first, I panicked about the task. Thanks to some warped dynamics in my family, I didn’t have a particularly close relationship with any extended family. I spoke to my grandparents once a year, awkwardly, if all went according to plan, and I hadn’t seen either of my living grandparents in years.

True to form, I waited until the last minute. I didn’t know who to ask or how. For my family, an interview was a pretty intimate conversation, and I was convinced I would get turned down.

In the end, I went to my mother and asked her to contact my grandfather. Quickly approaching his 90s at this time, I knew he was a hard-working man who had a wealth of experiences in WWII and beyond. I had no idea just how deep those experiences ran…or how they would change the way…