Military historian and arms collector Fred Ropkey died this month. He opted out of medical treatments that might have prolonged his life for a few months. After 84 years, he was not surrendering. He had simply decided to face this final challenge unarmed.
Fred was no fan of war. Few people are. Yet he knew that every tank, aircraft and piece of artillery he recovered was not only a work of exquisite design, but combined they represented the hundreds, maybe thousands, of lives that had been lost — or saved.
His passion, which was almost an obsession, got its roots early. At age 8, his parents gave him a World War I sword and a Civil War pistol belonging to his great-grandfather.