How Days Of Our Lives Star Dan Feuerriegel Honored His Grandfather

Unsurprisingly, given the family he is from, EJ DiMera is a notoriously ruthless — yet charming — character on "Days of Our Lives." The Australian-born Dan Feuerriegel had big shoes to fill when James Scott left the role, and it didn't take long for fans to warm up to him (via Soap Opera Digest). The former "Spartacus" and "Pacific Rim: Uprising" actor made the role of EJ his own and, while he's not a nice person most of the time, the character has shown a tender side on occasion. 

EJ is the son of Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo) and Susan Banks (Eileen Davidson), which has him firmly implanted in the DiMera family tree.  Although he inherited some of Stefano's ruthlessness, and despite the rather tumultuous start to his relationship with bad girl Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney), they ultimately became a fan-favorite super couple.

EJ has proven himself to be emotionally abusive at times. However, as mean and single-minded as EJ can be, Feuerriegel is the complete opposite in real life and seems to be a wonderful human being. With over 70,000 followers on Instagram, Feuerriegel is certainly popular on social media. He uses that platform to showcase not only cool pictures of himself and art from his graphic novel, "Fractured Shards," but has also used it to pay tribute to a man who died before he was born — his grandfather.

Dan Feuerriegel is descended from a WWI veteran

Dan Feuerriegel's grandfather fought with the Anzacs in World War I. The actor explained the incredible history of the fighting unit in his Instagram tribute to the veteran. In 1915, a group of Australian and New Zealand soldiers were combined into one unit which they called Anzac (a merger of the two countries' names). This group of brave men was ultimately tasked with storming the Gallipoli Peninsula beach in southwestern Turkey. According to History, they were trapped in a stalemate with the enemy for several months. Cornered in this trench combat, they had to deal with sweltering heat and disease. This did not stop these heroes because they kept their humor and were able to remain calm during the intense combat.

This heroic yet ill-fated offensive was depicted in the 1981 Peter Weir film "Gallipoli" 1981 starring Mel Gibson. The Ottoman Empire was an ally of Germany during the war, and the plan was to seize the capital, Constantinople (now known as Istanbul). The conflict lasted for eight months, and 11,000 Anzacs died attempting to move up through the Gallipoli peninsula to capture the city (via Army).

Although the campaign ultimately failed, the Anzacs proved to be incredible heroes and inspired the citizens of their respective homelands.

Dan Feuerriegel is 'proud' of his grandfather

While Dan Feuerriegel's "Days of Our Lives" character can be abusive and often seems to have his feelings turned off (via Soap Central), the actor was the total opposite in his Instagram post, which paid honor to the heroic man he never met. The post was made on Anzac Day, which is celebrated in Australia and New Zealand each year on April 25.

Feuerriegel's grandfather was a pilot with the Anzacs, and is depicted in the Instagram photos in his uniform, with his mates, and sitting on top of his Spitfire fighter plane. These pictures clearly illustrate his dedication to his job and country and his camaraderie with fellow soldiers. 

"Unfortunately I never got to meet him as he passed just before I was born," Feuerriegel wrote in the caption of the post. "But hearing stories from my mum, and seeing all these photos, I am humbled and proud to be his grandson."