Tony Dokoupil opens up about his family's painful legacy

A life-changing coincidence

In honor of Memorial Day, Tony Dokoupil is opening up about his family story, and the painful reality of how it came to be.

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The CBS news anchor previously opened up about his unexpected family history in his 2014 memoir, The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana, in which he reminisces about his childhood with a father who was a drug dealer.

However, his latest post to Instagram reveals the terrifying coincidence that allowed his family's legacy to continue, a story not even one of his own family members, Robby Dokoupil, knew about.

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WATCH: Tony reveals his New York City home

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The Memorial Day tribute shares the story of his grandfather, Rudy, who the star recounted: "Flew 33 raids over Nazi-occupied Europe as the engineer on a B-24 named Bodacious."

He shared a picture of his grandfather with who appears to be his grandmother, both clad in traditional, perfectly tailored suits of the era.

Alongside the sweet photo, he also included one of Rudy posing alongside the nine other airmen he worked with during the war, each wearing matching leather bomber jackets.

          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Tony Dokoupil (@tonydokoupil)

His grandfather's tragic story

Tony went on to detail the unfortunate future those men faced, and how his own grandfather's life was saved by sheer luck.

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He explained: "Rudy was sick before the 34th raid and stayed on the ground. The others never came home."

His family legacy lives on through his kids, Eloise and Teddy

After one of his family members commented: "I never knew this. Very interesting," the father-of-two delved into the long-lasting impact of the grim but life-saving coincidence, writing: "The average life expectancy for those B24s during Rudy's time was 20 missions. They defied the odds. Nine of them died. And Rudy came home shattered and in some essential way unfixable," acknowledging how the idea of PTSD was never even considered back then.

Other fans commended him for opening up about his family's history, writing: "Tony I'm so glad you posted this. How personal. Good to see his face," and: "Wow how crazy he was meant to stay on this planet and have you as his grandson!" as others wrote in their own war stories.

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