While naming Ranger I had an idea of what I wanted to call him and what I wanted on his papers. No matter how I played with the spellings, I couldn’t get it to fit without looking weird. So, I went back to the drawing board.
I wanted to remember some of the dogs in his pedigree. Tom Cat, a type of fighter jet; Rambler, a synonym to Ranger; War Cloud, a reference to the breed’s American Indian heritage.
Dad’s father served in the 101st Airborne during WWII (The Battle of Bastogne). The Ranger motto is “Currahee”, a Cherokee word meaning (roughly) “Stand Alone,” something very important to paratroopers behind enemy lines. It was what the Screaming Eagles cried as they jumped out of airplanes and into battle.
Later in his life Grandpa fought a number of tough battles including one of being hit by a semi that blew a stop sign. Being the tough guy he was, he pulled through with his sense of humor intact.
“Currahee” was how my dad ended the eulogy to my grandfather as Dad gave his final salute. Grandpa passed away in 2006 after several rounds with various types of cancer.
Using a Native American name also honors my mother’s father, who had his own Native American heritage, most likely Ottawa. Granted, he wasn’t Cherokee but I think he’d be okay with me using an Indian word from another language to honor him as well. He served in the Pacific Theater of WWII as a cook while on a battleship. Grandpa passed away in 2001 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Both of these men instilled in me values and abilities that made me who and what I am today. Both men loved their working dogs as well, so I felt it proper to honor both of their lives with a living memorial.
Of course, I live and work in a Park, so “Ranger” fits very well that way as well.