From: Jeanine Hart Seaman
”I am so thankful for the men and women who are willing to fight for our freedom. My family, for several generations, has put their lives on the line for this country, thinking they were the last generation and this country was safe from invasion. My father was a disabled veteran from WWII. On September 11, my younger brother, John, died in the WTC, our family's first casualty, and the country's first sign of things to come.
”I thank God every day for our president, his wife and family, and his staff for doing the right thing. His steadfast devotion to the war on terror and to preserving our safety and our way of life.
”Memorial Day was always a sacred day for me and holds many memories of good times with family and respect for our Veterans. It is now a ‘living memorial day,’ as we continue our fight and send the next generation of Americans warriors into battle and remember those who do not return to their families alive. My heart goes out to them. God Bless America and our military.”
From: Jeanne Butts
"With Memorial Day approaching, my heart aches even more than usual. I will be in D.C. to attend the Memorial Day Ceremonies and also to visit my father's gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. I will also be honoring my son, Sgt. Thomas Butts, Jr. United States Army, who has been in Iraq since March. My son is a very fortunate soldier since he has with him his grandfather’s (my father's) field jacket. A veteran of Korea and Vietnam, my father has always been my hero. I was very fortunate growing up to have my father return home from Korea twice and Vietnam twice. He passed away three years ago. I am very proud of my son and of all the other sons and daughters that are overseas protecting us. I have the ‘Blue Star’ in my front window to show the world my pride. GOD BLESS AMERICA."
From: Deborah Bentrem
"I would like to say how proud our family is of our son-in-law Corporal Jason D. Fisher. He was killed on November 14, 2002 while on a training mission before his deployment to Iraq. He fought in Afghanistan, and even though he did not die in combat, we still feel that he died to help defend our country and we will always be proud of him. We miss him very much even though he was only married to our daughter for less then a year. We couldn't be anymore prouder of him. He'll always be in our hearts."
From: Nancy and Bob Kleinhans
"Thank you, Brandon Rowl, for giving your life for Iraqi freedom. You served and fought along side my son Chris. You will be remembered with love."
From: Kathryn Bailey
"My heart goes to those who have lost a loved one in this most recent conflict. I am from a real small community, and we lost one of our own, Randy Rosaker (spelling). He was a Marine who fought for this county. This war hit home, but like everywhere else also. Randy was such a young man whose life was ahead of him, but I have to give many thanks for this man, because he made it a safer place for my children, and their children. Not only him but all those who have died in this latest conflict. So on this day of remembrance, I will always remember you and say thank you!!"
From: Judith Jones
”I lost my beloved son on September 11th ... he was on the 1904th floor of Tower #1. I watched on that fateful day the smoke billowing up into the clouds and couldn't believe my eyes. I kept telling myself that he got out once before and he would do it again. My husband and I stood transfixed in front of the television not believing what we were witnessing. I only spoke to my son the night before and he as so happy and full of life. He had just moved into his home that past March and had so many plans for it. The sky was so blue and the clouds so white that the unfolding events seemed surreal. We grieve each and every day... for the wife and son and daughter that will never again know his love and kindness. We, his parents, remember him as a little boy and young man and then as a husband and father. How could this happen to this wonderful son of ours? ... When will the hurt be less sharp or the sadness go away for even one whole day? Will there ever be a day when I will not cry for him? I don't think so.”
From: John and Jan Vigiano
”We just finished watching this year’s concert, and it brought back such wonderful memories of last year when you honored our family. Since then, a short documentary was made about our youngest son, Joe the Police Officer, and it won an Academy Award. Our life has never been filled with more kind and wonderful people since September 11th. Such tragedy brought so much good. Again, thank you for everything.”
From: LCDR Matthew Lee, USN
"I was fortunate enough to serve alongside Major Kevin Nave, USMC. There was no finer officer than Kevin. May God bless his family.
”Thank you for a very respectful concert.”
From: Robert Dorf
"I would like to remember my brother Stephen Scott Dorf on this Memorial Day 2003 who lost his life on that fateful day called September 11th. Stephen was a hardworking person, a family person, and my youngest brother. On September 11th, he was like all those who worked in the World Trade Center, going to a job and earning a living. I want America to always remember those who lost their lives on September 11th and their families who deeply miss them. Keep them always in your prayers."
From: James H. Krass
"I have watched your Memorial Day and Fourth of July concerts the last few years. Since September 11, 2001, these concerts have had more meaning to me. As a member of a local police department for 24 years, the attacks that occurred on September 11th showed me how vulnerable we all are. During Mr. Osborne's comments about September 11th, he made the statement of over 3,000 men, women and children killed. I personally feel that the word murdered should have been used. This was an unprovoked, intentional and unlawful taking of innocent lives. These were not soldiers fighting a battle; these were civilians going about their daily lives. Kill and murder have different meanings, and feel that we have used them in the wrong context. I feel that it is time for us to use them in their proper text. I will continue to watch your concerts, and am looking forward to your Fourth of July concert. United we Stand Always."
From: Ms. E. M. Crampton
"11 September 2001
’Be still my soul,’ you say.
I cannot find my soul.
My soul is roaming amidst mountains of ashes
Searching for my heart.
Amidst the ashes of my brothers and sisters
And our beloved country's fathers and mothers
There, mingling with the sacred dust,
Are the remains of my heart.
A heart pierced by four burning planes.
My soul is roaring in anguish and despair.
It cannot exist without my heart.
And it cannot be still.”
(Written on September 11, 2001)
From: MaryEllen Salamone
For John Salamone on behalf of Alex, 7, Aidan, 6, and Anna, 4.
”On an unseasonably cold and misty evening in May, seven-year-old Alex reached his glove in the air with his eyes closed, and pulled it down to see the ball... the last out. The parents cheered, the kids hugged. Alex ran over and said to me, ‘Do you think Daddy saw that?’ “Because what he did not get to see was his dad's beaming smile on the sideline, his pride, a father-son moment. Alex's dad was killed on September 11 at the World Trade Center.
At age 37, John Salamone was robbed of the years he waited for all his life, the years to be a dad. He loved sports, he loved fun, he had so much to share, so much to teach, so much is lost. He could have been their strength, he should have been their comfort... and now he is their hero, but a hero they cannot hug.
“Aidan is so much like him, Anna struggles to remember him. They will never forget him, they will never get over how he was lost. They deserve to be able to look back and know that our country did not stop securing our freedom so that a tragedy of this magnitude never again happened on our soil. They deserve to know that their Daddy did not die in vain. They deserve to remember his smile ... God, I pray they remember his smile."
The Vietnam War
From: Kathryn Magee
“My brother-in-law, Sgt. Peter E. Conlin of the 327th Infantry 1BDE 101st Air Born Division, gave his life in ASHU Valley, Vietnam in April 1968…He was a real New York City kid. Proud and brave and more than ready to fight for his Country. He paratrooped into many Vietnam jungles with his knife in his teeth and his rifle in his hands. We are so very proud of the young man he was. My heart cries for all the young men who didn’t come back and the ones who did but had to be buried. And the ones who will never be the same. I haven’t been able to bring myself to take out your old letters and read them again since I put them away, back in April 1968. We think of you so often and pray over your grave for peace in this crazy world. Your death must never be in vain.”
From: LaVern Vivio
“In the sixties, Kenneth Pease was a hired hand on my mom and dad’s farm in Wester, Kentucky. I never forgot him. I want people to remember … those who give their lives are real everyday people with real lives, and their sacrifice must not be forgotten or ever taken for granted. The day Kenneth told me he was going to be a soldier was the day he became my hero. Not because I really understood what being a soldier during the sixties meant or even where Vietnam was, but maybe it was because he seemed so excited and proud to be going. I remember the day he left as well as I remember the day the phone call came. It was one of those calls that you knew wasn’t good news. I do remember the flag draped coffin and the picture of Kenneth in his uniform and how sad and proud I was all at the same time…Because of Kenneth I never meet a veteran that I don’t thank nor a Vietnam veteran that I don’t want to hug and say I’m sorry for what you went through and then ask if the name Pease rings a bell.”
From: James Kaufman
"I had friends that lost there lives in Vietnam and now that I'm 60 years old I think of them often. I go out to the cemetery often and talk to Lee Hieder quite often, making sure that no one else around. I wonder what it would be like if he were around. Well maybe we'll see each other in the after life... Good bye......... Lee........ Jim."
From: Carl E. Stone
Major, Transportation Corps, US Army (Retired)
"The entire show was outstanding. I watch it every year and this is one of the best.
”The segment on the Vietman Gold Star Mothers was extremely moving!!!!!!!!!! They lost their sons during the same time that I served there. God Bless all mothers that have had to endure the loss of a son to war.”
From: Sandy Waters
"Every Memorial Day and Fourth of July I watch the services shown at the White House. It stirs my emotions so. I feel the pride. I feel for our troops, past and present. My heart has a special place for the Vietnam vets. That was my era. If I could only tell every one of them how much I think of them, how much I thank them. If I could only let them feel the love. Oh, what hell they went through. WE WILL NEVER FORGET THEM."
From: Dan Peters
"In Memory of a Man's Man: Wayne Sangillo, my first cousin, served in Company I (India Company) of the 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. He was a 21-year old private first class from Milo, Maine, when on November 18, 1968, he was killed in action by small-arms fire in or near Quang Tri, South Vietnam. He had only been in-country about one month at the time of his death. He was a rugged guy, a championship boxer in central Maine, just prior to his enlistment. I still see your bright smile, feel your enthusiasm, the confident swagger. You died not in vain."
From: Karen Aldrich Butler
"I was a little girl out in the country side of Ontario County, NY. We little ones always sat in the front of the bus where the teenagers sat in the back; especially the boys.
”One in particular was a good looking young man who lived down the road and was a friend of my brother's. Kenny Koch was quiet, but you knew he was there. Just one of the kids on our bus. One of the kids from the country.
”He went to Vietnam a young man with a purpose. He came back a memory. A name imprinted on a stone wall. Just a name.
This little girl remembers a kind young man who road her bus to school. A friend from the country. Forever remembered."
From: Capt. J.O. Myhre
"Lance Sijan, you are a hero to me besides being a 1965 classmate in a USAF pilot training class in Texas. I am inspired by your heroism and your friendship to all those around you. We miss you. Thank you being able to know you and being a friend. Jerry"
From: Cecil O. Harris
"I served in the USAF Bein Hoa, Vietnam 1964-65. I was one of the lucky ones, I made it home safely. For so many years I tried to forget about it and just live life. It is at times like Memorial Day, seeing the Vietnam wall, that I just have some unshed tears that must come out. I am so fortunate to have an understanding wife, who is so loving and supportive. I will say a prayer for those who paid with their lives and for their families. May God bless you.”
From: Carol F. Weisel
"On January 16, 1975, my world crumbled when my husband was killed in an aircraft accident while training at Nellis Air Force Base. He had just returned from Korat, Thailand and we thought the dangerous part of his flying career had passed. I was 6 months pregnant with the child that we were told I could never have. In April 1975, our son, David Jr. was born. He never knew his father but each and every day I see a piece of David in his son. David Jr. feels the presence of his father and is looking forward to the time when he can meet him face to face with God: his hero - his Dad."
From: Texanne Killough-Larson
"I lost several very close friends in Vietnam, two who were extra special to me were William Rushing and Ronnie Lazicki both of Austin, Texas. Both of these young men left a lasting memory in my heart and I miss them as much today as I did when I heard they had died. Each in his own way brightened our world just by being a part of it. I graduated with Ronnie and lived not far from Bill. I honor them and the many boys, who are now men, who fought in a war that their fellow American shunned. I am proud to call you my friends."
From: T Graser
"Two of the best, Jerry Seller, Jack Plumb two pilots from the 26th ARS, Plattsburgh AFB who bought the farm in Nam, I will never forget them Jack was my CP Jerry was a friend, I was there when jerry met his wife Jane two great people who were heroes in Nam"
From: Eduardo A. Lombard, Ph.D
"In Memory Of
Pfc. Bruce W. Carter VietNam Vet 1969
From: Commandant, Eduardo A. (eddie) Lombard
VietNam Vet 1968-1969
United States Marines Corps League”
The Korean War
From: Mrs. Lucy Ray
“…This was the first PBS Memorial Day concert I’ve watched. Despite the fact my late father served in the Korean War up till now I confess I only thought of Memorial Day as a ‘day off of work.’ Watching the PBS showing of the Memorial Day Concert this evening has totally changed my feelings and has given me an appreciation of what the holiday really is about. I feel ashamed that I have not honored this national holiday properly in the past, but resolve that I will do so from now on. I realize now that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance to everyone who has served our country in the past as well as those who continue to serve it in the military now….”
From: Miriam Joanna Weir
"My Father, Eugene H. McCord, was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy during the Korean War. As he was an engineer, he was in the Sea-Bees. He spoke of his fellow sailors and friends often and fondly over the years. He never referred to the hardships he must have endured, but we were always aware of the personal integrity that it took to do as he and so many thousands of his compatriots did at that time in the history of this wonderful country. I vividly recall a very favorite photograph of my Father and two of his friends while they were on R and R in Hawaii. They are laughing and smiling as only free young men with their whole lives before them can do; they are clad in hula skirts and leis with stogies hanging out of their mouths and they are dancing. They are having the time of their lives, no doubt about it. Thanks Daddy, for fighting for us, and I hope you are still laughing and dancing.
”May God bless all of you wonderful people on this Memorial Day who laughed and cried and danced for The United States of America.
The Family and friends of Eugene Hollis McCord.”
From: Mary Jo Melancon
"My Uncle Frank was a veteran of Korea — -a quiet man who never spoke much about his time in the service. Frank died on 12 November 2002. Fortuitously, I had the opportunity to visit Korea two weeks later (business trip) and to tour the battlegrounds. For the first time I realized how much our soldiers had done for us and what Frank had undergone. I salute him — an unassuming man who gave his all."
From: Al Meyer
"In the summer of 1950 I was assigned to CO. L, 87th inf. Regt. 10th inf. Div., Fort Riley, Kansas for basic training. While I was not sent to Korea, many of my fellow trainees were and many of them did not come home but they lost their lives in the frozen hills of Korea. I would just simply say to all of them, those that came home and those who did not, thank you for your service. They may call it the forgotten war but I shall never forget the brave men and women that served in Korea."
From: Betty Watson
"Our friend, Sargeant 1st Class, John H McCall, Jr., is still listed as MIA, Korean War, the forgotten war. You are gone, but you will never be forgotten. We continue to pray that someday you will be able to rest here at home."
From: Dianne Weaver Henry
"This is to honor my father, Sgt. Roger Lee Weaver, who was killed in action on February 14, l951. He left behind a young wife, a four year old daughter, and a two year old son. I was so young when you died and I'm not sure of the memories that I have, if I actually remember, or if I just remember someone telling me things about you when I was so young. But one thing I can say, I am very proud of you, and I tried to live my life to honor you. You are NOT forgotten and never will be. Thank you Daddy. I miss you and love you with all my heart. Your daughter, Dianne."
From: Ronald V. Winfield
"Two young enlisted men lost their lives in Korea:
14 Sept. 1950
Died of Wounds
14 Feb. 1951
Killed in Action
”Both of these young men were from a town of 30,000 and possessed the attributes of a son that any parent would desire.
“Affable, sincere and jovial were their mainstays. God Bless them both for serving in such a fashion and representing my hometown of West Haven, Connecticut
14 Sept. 1950"
From: Rosemary Endrizzi Morrison
"My husband, Jim Morrison came home safely from Korea in December of l953, and up until his death 2 and 1/2 years ago, we always watched the annual Memorial Concert together; a more patriotic person, than Jim, I have never met. I write this though, as a tribute to my 5 classmates from the Hurley High School in Wisc. in l949, who enlisted together, to Korea together, and died there. They were Leonard Sullivan, Ray DiUlio, Charles Baron, Jerome Misuraco, and John ‘Buddy’ Barton. They were part of the reason my husband survived that war. Today, your tribute to all our military is even more meaningful, to all and especially to me as my grandson, Michael Johnson is serving in Iraq, he is a LCpL in the Marines. Very sincerely, Rosemary Endrizzi Morrison."
World War II
From: Cyndy Snyder
“My husband and I have watched and enjoyed the Memorial Day concerts for several years now and we always feel this is a highlight of our Memorial Day weekend… It truly memorializes and pays tribute to our Men and Women in Uniform past and present. For my own remembrances, I have been taking the time to savor the life of my dad who died several years ago at the age of 95. My father, Clifford Cobb, received a purple heart for his part in WWII as a naval, Chief petty officer on destroyer 434, the USS Meridith. On October 12, 1942, the Meridith was traveling with the USS Vireo in Guadalcanal. On the 13th a large group of Japanese planes began bombing the ship. The Captain was injured and ordered the crew to abandon ship. The bombers were strafing the men in the water and lifeboats, in addition to the sharks attacking them in the oil slicked water. Many died from injuries and exhaustion after several days and night in the water, but a total of 97 managed to hang on to the life rafts, and float for the duration when, on the 18th, they were spotted and rescued several sister ships. My Dad rarely wanted to talk about his experience, but my Mother saved all of the letters he sent including the ones from his stay in the hospital so our family has a record of the account in his own words…I appreciate so much the opportunity to take time and remember through the stories and music the freedom that we have thanks to the many men and women in our armed forces and for being fortunate to be an American citizen-born in a country founded on freedom and liberty.”
From: Beth Christie
“I just finished watching the Concert and I have not stopped crying from start to finish. I lost my father this year and he was a very proud Canadian veteran of WWII. I always thought throughout my childhood that thanks to he and all the other armed forces, we would never fight war again. How sorry I am that I am wrong and how dearly I feel for those families who grieve today. Never let America think for a moment that it is alone. Your fight for freedom is our fight as well and your pain and losses are borne by all who love God and freedom he intends for his children.”
From: Dr. Thomas Pierce
“I loved my Father for what he did for me. He never told me about the suffering he and others went through in The European Theater during his 4 years of WWII. But I look forward to thanking him when the Lord allows me to come home. In my later years it is time for all of us to find out what we can do to help these men and women who are going to have to cope with their suffering for many years forth due to disabilities from the war. Not to minimize the ultimate sacrifice that too many of our precious people gave, but theirs was over quickly and now those of us who are left must pick up the burdens of the wounded.”
From: Susan Johnson
“Dear Uncle Harlin, I never knew you. I wasn’t even born when you were lost of the coast of Alaska in 1942. I grew up hearing about you from my grandparents and parents. Your pictures were in each of our houses and memories of you were there too. I wish I could have known you. We would have been pals, I think … Grandma was never the same after you were lost. A part of her went with you into the Pacific that day, and she never got over your loss. Neither did Grandpa. There was always a vacant look in their eyes, and I could tell when they were remembering something about you. I didn’t understand Grandma’s pain when I was young, but I do now. I have a son of my own, and the emptiness she felt upon receiving that telegram from the War Department overwhelmed her and never left her. And my father missed you too …whenever he spoke of you, he laughed, and then he cried. It seems you were everyone’s shining light, and when you went away, the entire family felt an ache that just never stopped. Even though your body was never recovered, there is a marker in our hometown cemetery so people can remember. Your brother and sister put it there, but I’m the one that now looks at it, cares for it and wonders. Wonders how life might have been altered and enriched had I grown up with my Uncle Harlin. Please know that someone still remembers your sacrifice and honors your memory…I have your Purple Heart. It is one of my most cherished possessions and will be passed on to my son so he can remember your sacrifice. A bright star went out that day in 1942, but your light still shines within this heart. Love, Your niece, Sue.”
From: Robert Brandon
“My brother was eleven and I was seven when our father died in World War II. His name was Alfred Joseph Brandon, Jr. and came from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was a Navy Pharmacist Mate assigned to the Pacific war. .I wish I had been able to get to know him better, to share his thoughts and learn from him. I can only guess that my creativity, in part, came from his since no one in the family shared much with me after his death. It was likely they didn’t want to discuss it as it might upset me too much. But I wish they had … I wonder what my dad might have done with his life had he been given more time. And I wonder about all the others who died so young without a chance to live their lives … But they did prove themselves to the world with the ultimate sacrifice of giving their life for their country and there is no job or life experience that can top that.”
“I am writing this in remembrance of my uncle Guido Fusco. He was a soldier in the US Army during World War II, and came home after losing both legs. I was only a kid at the time (I’m 65 now) but I knew that the event had changed his life forever. What courage and sacrifice. What a selfless man he was. As I look back on my time with him, I realize how that he taught me more about life than I ever realized at the time. I know there were thousands of Uncle Guidos who gave of their lives so that we may be free and live our lives in peace and harmony. I love and miss you uncle Guido, you will always be in my heart, my mind, and, my prayers. Your loving nephew, Phillip.”
From: Diane Erdeljac
“Dear Dad, I never had the opportunity as an adult to tell you how much I love you, honor you and hold immense pride in my heart for you. I remember as a little girl how proud you were to be an American. I cannot believe that before you even became a citizen, you were drafted into WWII, yet you willingly went and were proud to be considered a member of the United States Army. You were only married two weeks when you went off to war, not realizing, thank God, that you would be gone for 5 years…I remember you talking about living in a fox hole for a week or two, no bath, rationed food, and constant fear. I remember you talking about being wounded the first time in Italy. I’m glad they gave you your medals as well as American citizenship when you returned! I am so very sorry you are no longer here to be a part of the WWII memorial. I know you would love it because it really honors all that you did and the design suits your generation, truly the greatest, most loving, and most sacrificial and “innocent. I want to say that I am proud you were my father and as an adult, formally thank you. Much love forever, Dianne.”
From: Donna Stone Ewing
“Harold J. Stone of North Carolina, my biological father, was killed over France in 1945, three months before I was born. Charles L. Martin of North Carolina became My Daddy Charles when I was three and never stopped being so until his death. Oh how I wish he were here to take part in the WWII Memorial Dedication. He would be so proud. I still remember sitting on the floor more than once, intently looking through his scrapbooks of pictures taken during the war. He would sit beside me with an opened Atlas nearby so he could show me where the pictures were taken. He would vividly describe each place, telling me the names of his friends and their backgrounds, some of their adventures in addition to telling me the type of plane in a picture and explaining its purpose…One time as the National Anthem was being played I forgot to put my right hand over my heart as he had taught me to do. He gruffly took my right hand, placed it over my heart sternly telling me he had BETTER NEVER SEE ME NOT DOING THAT EVER AGAIN! Later he apologized and gently explained why this gesture was so important. I will never forget his words and to this day, I tear whenever the anthem is played no matter if I hear it on TV or am at an event. I miss him so much.”
From: Ann Mapp Ketner/Nancy Mapp
“A long time ago in 1945 I picked up the morning paper to see that my friend, Eddie Peele, would never come home again. Eddie’s friend later told me that Eddie had been in the Battle of the Buldge, and he had been a hero. He gave his life to divert German fire away from the soldiers with him who had wives and children at home…Eddie had donned the army uniform, left and died in Europe, in the service of our country. He was a good guy, a member of our high school group, one of my earliest dates…I think of him every year on Memorial Day.”
From: Tina M. Aden
“…My grandfather was killed in action on April 19, 1945 at Badia di Sopra, Italy – which as I understand is a location near the town of Sulmonte … I will forever honor my grandfather, he fought for his country, and died just a few days too soon. He never gave up, and when he was killed, those lives back home fell like dominos. Every life was crushed, and everyone was praying for the end of the war and his safe arrival, when instead the most unbearable news came of his being killed. When I hear of a death of someone in the military, I know that it is more then the death of one person, it is the death of many people, of the family, and that no words are the right words. Wives, children, grandchildren’s lives are torn apart, as in my family; there is a sadness that will linger for many years to come. I honor my grandfather SPC George T. Davis and all those who died defending their country, for they gave the ultimate sacrifice. I also honor their families, for they sacrifice continuously.”
From: Lynne Fouraker
"It is with a special sense of sadness that I will watch this year's National Concert. My father & I always watched it every year. He was a WWII veteran of the European theatre, who was awarded the Silver Star & Purple Heart in Germany.
”On 10/16/02, he died unexpectedly at the age of 79. I wish there was some way I could share with your viewers a short-story he wrote about a true-life incident that occurred in his squad in March, 1945. It is very well-written & would be appreciated by anyone with an interest in WWII.
”I plan to try to attend your concert in 2004, as I plan to be in D.C. for both the Run to the Wall & the WWII monument dedication. I always dreamed of taking my Dad to the dedication; that can't happen but he'll be there in spirit."
From: Elizabeth Pommers
"On this Memorial Day I find my thoughts drifting back to my grandfather. The memory of him hasn't faded in the last ten years; it has grown stronger. The more my country & myself endure, the more I realize what a real hero was. Realizing that is realizing a big part of who my grandfather was. To carry that title so gracefully & humbled is something I could never achieve. He was, as his fellow soldiers were, truly great men. In memory of GUY CEPHUS GENTRY SR.
”I love you grandaddy.
Memorial Day 2003"
From: Genevieve McCaffrey
"In memoriam of my uncle, Elgin J. Luckenbach, who was declared dead after missing in action in WWII — the aircraft never returned from a bombing mission was lost over New Guinea.
This Memorial Day Concert was indeed one of the most outstanding."
From: George Kinley
"I lost my father on Dec. 14, 1944, the telegram was delivered on Dec. 26, at 1:30 in the afternoon, I still can see the green car and the soldier delivering the telegram to my mother as if it happened yesterday. He was with the 313inf. 79div. and of list of deceased from them 389, he was the only listed casualty on the 14 of Dec. I have all the letters that my father and mother sent to each other from the first day he went to war, and I saw him off waving out the train window in Johnstown, Pa. also have all the government letters about his death. I was only 6, brother was 9 and sister was 4. He was 37 years old and drafted and went. He is buried in Lorraine American Cemetery, St Avold France. plot A row 25 Grave 10. I have a photo of his cross at the cemetery. Not much to remember your father by. George Kinley, a son who still misses his father and never got to say goodbye."
From: Frank J. Gauvain
"I pause to remember my uncle Joseph R. W. Gauvain Pfc 45th Infantry Division who was killed in action September 3, 1944 in Southern France. Saldly missed but not forgotten."
From: Ersilia LePore
"My thoughts are with my cousin Eugene Fava, 19 yrs old, who was killed while flying his 18th mission in the European theater. He loved our country and enlisted out of high school. We love him and hold his memory dear. God Bless America."
"On May 22nd, 1943 my uncle, Cpl Raymond E. Martin paid the ultimate price on the island of Attu at the hands of the Japanese, in the service of this country. Even though 60 years have come and gone since that date it stays in my memory banks still, and always will. I wasn't born until eleven years after Uncle Ray's death. I and a few of my family are veterans. My brother Joe, Navy. My brother Ray, Marines. Myself, Army & Navy. God bless all our nation’s heroes..."
From: Doris Pierce Gerron
"Fifty eight years ago, four brave young men from our small city, gave their lives on a tiny South Pacific Island, Iwo Jima. My brother, Sgt. William Thomas (Dooney) Pierce, Jr. was one of those boys. PFC James Wesley Goodwin, Sgt. Joe Riley Crow and Dooney were best friends and grew up together playing football for Ennis High School. Lt. Jack Lummus, several years their senior, played football for Baylor University and the New York Giants. All made the supreme sacrifice on that barren island.
”What could those four lives have done if they had lived? What would they have contributed to our society? We will never know. But one thing we do know, except for men like them we would not be enjoying life today as we know it. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend."
From: Mary Jo Melancon
"My dad, Clemens Schuda, was one of those who went to war because he had to. He fought in Luxembourg and in France and was wounded. He never spoke much about his time in battle---lots of stories about camps and his buddies, but he never wanted to talk about the war. We wanted to organize a family trip to France on the 50th anniversary of DDay, but for some reason Dad did not want to do this. We respected that---just as we respect him and love him for what he did for and gave to our country. Dad passed away in 1984 at age 77 Schudie, we love ya!"
From: Allan H. Loehndorf
"My brother Warren E. Loehndorf wrote over 110 letters to my parents and to my sister and me. In them, which we cherish, and in the records which I have since received from the government I have been able to sense the thrill, agony, and devotion that he must have had in becoming a B-17 pilot. I have missed him more each year since his plane was lost on November 23, 1944. I hope this country never forgets those who sacrificed their all."
From: Gena L. Eberhard
"In memory of my friend, PFC Alan H. Benningfield, USN who fell during Operation Desert Storm, 1991. He was loved by so many and this is on behalf of all of us."
From: Luretta Dramis
"Please remember our Marines killed in Beirut, Lebanon. My son, L/Cpl. George L. Dramis USMC was the last Marine to be killed in actual battle in Beirut leaving behind 4 sisters that dearly love and miss him.
“His last letter home began, ‘By now you know, I won't be coming home... Please keep me in your memories.’ Please help us by keeping him and all those Marines in your memory too... Semper Fi Luretta Dramis."
From: George W. and Muriel E. Schulte
"Although my father, Leo J. Schulte was not killed in World War II, he did receive a Purple Heart while fighting in Sicily. The scars on his legs were terrible and he went through months and months of pain. He never complained about the scars or the pain but we knew he was hurting. He passed away in December 1986 of a heart attack and we miss him dearly.
”My wife’s father, James. L. Stewart was in the Army and the Navy during WW2, and both of her brothers were in the service, Jimmy L. Stewart II, a Marine who received 2 Purple Hearts in Vietnam, and Jerry Stewart who served in the Air Force. I was also in the Navy and served overseas and in the states. The sacrifice of our families and those of our fellow Americans will never be forgotten and our prayers go out to all of those Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen protecting our freedoms throughout the world. God Bless You and God Bless America."
From: James C. Boyd
"As a 30-year veteran of the USAF, having served in Korea and Vietnam, I salute those men and women who have volunteered to serve our country and support the premise "freedom thru vigilance". It is not always easy to wear the uniform of our military services. It is often a symbol that others find offensive because it represents the greatest nation on earth and it stands for the freedom we enjoy. Something not shared by other nations or it's people. So, as you wear that symbol of freedom, I salute you and want you to know that I am grateful for your service to our country. From a retired CMSGT (USAF) I SALUTE YOU."
From: Charlotte Williams Jeffers
"What a moving experience this concert was!
”I am writing this letter in memory of my uncle, Clyde Ramage, from Nashville, Arkansas, who died in 1918 in France. When I was a child and looking in my grandmother's house for stamps to add to my collection, I found letters from Clyde to his mother. When he enlisted in the army, he was studying to become a dentist at Southern State College. Unfortunately, Clyde died in December of 1918, after the armistice had been signed, of typhoid fever he caught during the march back from the front. He had survived the fighting in the trenches, but was beaten by the germs which proliferated in contaminated water supplies. His death greatly affected my grandmother and all his brothers and sisters. He died before marrying; thus he produced no children. His last living sister is my 90 year old mother. Once she is dead, there will be no one on earth to remember him or mourn his passing."
"In memory of Frank, Jack and Charles Morgan
Thanks to Bob Lewis, Iselin NJ (Korea), Elizabeth (Betty) Miller (WW II and beyond, Bedford Pa)
”In Memory of Jackie Reid and Tom of Kearny, NJ
”Thanks to Pat Spraggins (Long Island, NY) and Peggy Perri ( ? Mass), KCHSN, (Vietnam)
God bless all the NURSES
”THANK YOU ALL AND SO MANY OTHERS FOR OUR FREEDOM, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE NEAR OUR HEARTS."
From: Sharon A. Flood
"Our family had two men who made the ultimate sacrifice: Pvt. Edward Flood, Waterloo, Iowa, Company C, 32nd Iowa Infantry, KIA, Canton, Mississippi, February 28, 1864; and Sgt. Frank G. Flood, Battle Creek, Nebraska, 47th Infantry Regiment, Machine Gun Company, KIA at the Argonne Forest, September 27, 1918. So many others in our family served - my late father, his father, my great great grandfather - I cannot recount them all here. To some, this may seem like ancient history, but to those of us who remember them, their bravery and sacrifice will live as long as one person recalls their names. They live on with us, having given the last full measure of their devotion for our freedom."