Our little boy was born this week, in a near perfect labor and delivery, which I am so grateful for after the abruption and complicated delivery I had with Edyn. Edyn has been my baby for the last 21 months, and now all of the sudden she doesn’t seem so baby anymore. It’s as if she has grown to be a little big girl the afternoon we brought Jacob home from the hospital.
The name Jacob shares the initials of his dad and it is a name we both love. The name means to supplant or usurp. I hope it emboldens him to seize what he wants out of this life, to unabashedly chase after his dreams, hopes and desires and makes them his. I hope his name reminds him to take charge of his course and conquer his passion.
Magnus was his dad’s grandfather’s name. Born on the family homestead in the furthest reaches of North Dakota, Magnus Jul Sverdrup Opsal entered this world on a November day in 1920. He was a grain farmer by trade and drafted into the US Army’s 10th Armored Division in 1942, serving in the European Theater during World War II. Among his medals and commendations, Magnus was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement in a combat zone. Upon returning home from the war, Magnus married Jake’s great grandmother Joann and raised their four children on their farm. Magnus continued to raise cattle and farm grains until his late 80’s.
Witsell is the family name of Jacob’s Grandma Scheer’s maternal ancestry. Edward Fuller Witsell Jr. and Sr. were his 2nd Great and 3rd Great Grandfathers.
EFW Jr. was a Lt. Col. in the Air Force and served during World War II and Korea as a navigator in the 392nd Bomb Group, which flew the B-24’s.
EFW Sr. was a Major General in the US Army and served in World War I, II and Korea. He was born in 1891 in Charleston South Carolina, graduated from the Citadel in 1911 and was commissioned into the infantry in 1912. He then became a Language Officer and Military Attache in Tokyo. He graduated from the Army War college in 1929. He served active duty in the defense of the Panama Canal Zone from 1934-1936 and then joined the Adjutant General’s office from 1937-1941. He was assigned to the Southeast Air Forces Training Center at Maxwell in Alabama from 1941 to 1942 and then became the Adjutant General of the III Corps Area. He was the Director of Military Personnel Division during the second World War from 1943-1945. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1944 and Major General in 1945. He became Adjutant General of the US Army from 1945-1951. He retired in 1951 with decorations including the Distinguished Service medal and five commendation medals. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Being named after his grandfathers, who carry such distinguished military careers, isn’t meant to suggest that it is the path he should take in life. Rather, it is meant to embolden him with a spirit of courage, tenacity, bravery, honor and leadership. My utmost desire is that his dad and I are able to raise him to be a man of strength equal to his humility, a toughness that is only outmatched by his ability to love. I hope he takes what is his in this life and has the wisdom to decipher what that is. I hope he fears nothing but idleness and passivity. I hope he has the courage to follow his true North star and that it forever guides him through his life’s journeys. I hope he find she who captivates his heart and treats her as well as his father has always treated me, that he loves fiercely and protects those who are his world.
These are the thoughts and words that have been dwelling in my heart for the last couple months in anticipation of my son’s arrival into this world.