Army 101 / Family / In loving memory

In memory

Around the same time I met Jonathan and was introduced to my first taste of army life, I found out that my cousin Scott had enlisted. I quickly went from having no military connections in my life at all to having army in my love life, and army in my family life. Suddenly: camo everywhere.

This was the first time I saw Scott in uniform, when he arrived in Vegas for our cousin's wedding. I spent my childhood seeing Scott in black eyeliner and heavily pierced, so seeing him in camo was like meeting a completely different person.

This was the first time I saw Scott in uniform, when he arrived in Vegas for our cousin’s wedding. I spent my childhood seeing Scott made up in black eyeliner and face piercings, so seeing him in camo was like meeting a completely different person.

I remember talking to Scott after he graduated from basic training and, though he was the same kind, charming man I’d grown to know behind his black leather and spiked cuffs as he grew, I’m sure all his friends and family would agree that there was a new fire in him. He was proud to be serving his country, and we were all so proud in his pride, and in our own.

Scott and Mom

Scott escorting his mom at his step-sister’s wedding.

Scott and his sisters

Scott with his sisters Pam and Elyse.

Michael's Wedding

Scott with the family at our cousin Michael’s wedding.

Scott and my mom trying not to get caught dancing to "Thriller." Nice try. Nobody escapes my camera during "Thriller."

Scott and my mom trying not to get caught dancing to “Thriller.” Nice try. Nobody escapes my camera during “Thriller.”

My first true memories of Scott are from the years just before his Bar Mitzvah, when my family would fly from Los Angeles to New Jersey to see his family. One summer, staying on the East Coast with Scott, his mom, and his two younger sisters Pam and Elyse, I remember having my first true taste of the sticky, hot humidity I’ve come to know very intimately while living and commuting around DC. We were gathered on their front lawn in New Jersey and, as I stepped outside to join my cousins, I saw the sky begin to light up with little green iridescent flashes. It was the first time I’d ever seen fireflies. Scott had a glass jar resting on the ground (Pam tells me they used to top the jars with poked-through aluminum foil to complete the lanterns) and, with both hands, he scooped a flashing green orb out of the sky, and offered it to me.

It was at that moment I realized that fireflies are also called “lightning bugs” because they are, in fact, bugs, and I didn’t like them one bit. As soon as the little flashing bug touched my outreached hand, I screamed, shook it off, and ducked as it flew away while Scott laughed at me.

Scott and Me

Last week, we lost Scott. The love his family and friends have shown and received during this difficult time has been extraordinary; watching his loved ones come together to celebrate the joy and love that his life brought to all who knew him is a true testament to the kindness of his character, and the strength of his memory.

Scott returned from his first tour in Afghanistan just as I was preparing to send Jonathan off for his second tour last year. I hope to always remember my cousin as the proud soldier, son, brother, and fiancé he was when he returned home.

Scott and sisters

Scott with his sisters and step-sisters.

Scott with his sisters, my twin Joanna, and me.

Scott with his sisters, my twin Joanna, and me.

Scott and Samantha

Scott with his fiancée Samantha.

Cousins

Though we did not lose Scott in battle, he understood and suffered the injury and pain of war. If you are interested in helping Scott’s memory live on through helping others, his family greatly appreciates donations to the Wounded Warrior Project in his name. If you would like to donate, please follow this link to the Wounded Warrior Project website and indicate in the “Honoree and Acknowledgment Information” section of the form that your donation is in memory of Scott Ganz.

23 thoughts on “In memory

  1. I came across this when I was just browsing through Scott’s page, remembering him. I home so sorry for your loss. For the world’s loss, really. I knew Scott in his electrical tape days, and the days in FL before the military. I never got to see Scott the soldier, and that will always be a source of regret. I’ll be donating to both Wounded Warriors and his son’s fund as soon as I can. I wish that I could do more in his memory.

    • Thank you so much, Amber. I’m about five years younger than Scott, and I remember first seeing him with his electric tape dreads when I was a kid and being completely terrified. Of course after 30 seconds of talking to him, I realized he was still the great guy I grew up loving; the same goes for behind camo as it did behind black eyeliner. I know what a comfort his friends’ kind words have been to his family.

      • He was such a sweet guy. I loved seeing people look askance at him, then watch the change in their mannerisms after a few minutes of speaking with him. I’ve been trying to tell myself that we were lucky to have had him in our lives, and that memories last forever. It helps, seeing how much others loved him. i can’t imagine how you, and the rest of his family, are feeling. You are all in my thoughts.

  2. Scott never liked cranberry sauce. Jackie used to taunt him with the “jiggly stuff” at Thanksgiving. Pam said we always forget the cranberry sauce now.

  3. scott made me eat gifelte fish at passover when the family was generous enough to have me over when we were like 15 or something. He avoided cream cheese like the plague

  4. hi my name is John Loiacono. I served with Scott over seas. He was in my platoon from the middle of the deployment up to the end of it. He was a great guy! I was very lucky to know him! this article is beautiful and it was a blessing to read it! my prayers go to your family.

  5. Pingback: A Valentine’s Day care package: nothing says “I love you” like three sticks of butter | Army Pants and Flip Flops

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