Lovely story. You can see that you wrote with fond memories. I’m not sure if I’d keep the first paragraph. It doesn’t add to the story. Two sentences caused me to stumble. “Bill never had any sons or grandsons, but he did have a great-grandson, Dustin.” At first, I thought how in the heck did you get here? Then I realized Bill had daughters. It may be nice to put, “Bill never had any sons or grandsons, only daughters, but he did have a great-grandson, Dustin.” The second, “My only grandpa, not even related.” How could he be your grandpa and not related? Please explain.
It’s very rare to have a 21 gun salute once someone retires from the service. It takes quite a bit to have this done. It would be nice to have a line or two in there explaining how and why a mechanic got the honor several decades years after his enlistment.
Are you from the Dakotas? Minnesota? I just recently moved from that area, and we had towns with the same names. Nice story. It seems very sincere.