Monday, May 18, 2009

Memorial Day thoughts

My Mom received a letter that is about soldiers from her hometown who died in WWII. She had an older brother who was 20 years her senior, who died in the war. She did not know him as she was 4 years old when he died.

One part of the letter my Mom received was a copy of the letter that was sent to my Grandmother on the death of her son, Cpl. Adolph Zoeller, Jr. Adolph was killed in the Normandy Invasion. The letter was from Capt. R. Young, his commanding officer.

"Thank you for writing me. I thank you because I cannot write the parents of boys who have been in our company and given their lives for God and country except when their parents write to me after they have received official notification.

I am not a chaplain, a company does not have one. I am Adolph's company commander. I was not present at his burial but I have received official notification that he is buried on the Normandy coast of France with his comrades in arms, who gave their all that this might be a better world to live in.

He was always in this tank company. He was listed as in the infantry because all the armed force is so listed unless they came from the cavalry. As for his personal belongings, you should receive them in time, but due to many, many jobs the Army has to do, it may be some time before they arrive.

I am sorry that I cannot give you some ray of hope, but I believe you would rather know that Adolph has gone to meet his Maker than to keep hoping in vain.

There have been so many, many heroes in this war that they cannot all be acclaimed, but always know that your son was and is one of the unsung heroes who made the landing on the coast of France possible.

He was always thorough and dependable and remained so to the very end. I am proud to have had him in my company.

I know God has blessed your son and may his blessings fall upon you also."

I am not a mother, but I can imagine the pain my Grandmother must have felt on losing her oldest child. It would be the same pain all mothers, be they Americans, Africans, Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans, Israelis, Iranians, Asians, Germans, Russians, mothers from all races, religions and cultures must feel. No one group has the exclusive rights to grief at the loss of a child in battle.

Governments own the wars, but it is all of the mothers and fathers of soldiers who own the grief. While the US Memorial Day honors those who died in battle, those left behind, wherever they are, should be thought of as well.

Adolph was brought back to the US from his burial place in Normandy after WWII ended and laid to rest in Marion Illinois.

No comments: