The history of the men of 1/24 in World War II and beyond

Latest

A New Home

Welcome to the new home of First Battalion, 24 Marines – formerly located at http://ablecompany24.com

The old site has been removed, pending major updates to biographies, unit histories, and photographs. The newer one should be much easier to navigate, with better information, extensive photo galleries, and true tales of life at war in the Pacific.

However, because this is a one-man operation – run concurrently with my other site, Missing Marines – these updates take a long time to complete! There were more than 3,000 Marines who served with 1/24 in its various incarnations from the First Separate Battalion through the end of the war, and there are always new stories to tell. Check out the latest blog posts below, or start with the page links above.

If you’re searching for information on a relative or particular individual, please contact me – either in page comments, or by email – and I’ll send along what I know.

If you’d like to contribute stories, photographs, or any other material pertaining to the battalion, send me an email and we’ll take it from there.

Otherwise, please enjoy this tribute to the Marines who served with Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, and HQ Companies of the First Battalion, 24th Marines, Fighting Fourth Marine Division during World War Two.

Thank you, and Semper Fi.

Geoffrey

“The Company From Brooklyn”

A little-known nickname for Charlie Company, 24th Marines – even if “dem bums” were “a vigorous minority group affecting the character of the entire outfit.”

(I live in Brooklyn, and can attest to this personality trait.)

This article by correspondent Dan Levin ran in the Brooklyn Eagle on July 29, 1945. Corpsman Haynes received the Bronze Star medal for the actions described herein. (Click the image for full size.)

CompanyFromBrooklyn

 

(And for those wondering about cat-chasing Corporal Ciecierski: either he was a true animal lover or just fundamentally a dog person. Here he is posing with a buddy near a knocked out Japanese tank.)

ciecierski_dog

Baker Company Portrait

baker_groupshot

Photo Source: Martindale Family Tree, uploaded by user “plaxamate1″

A neat souvenir photo of four Baker Company Marines, probably taken late in 1943, and a good representation of the casualties suffered by 1/24 during the war. None of these four men was in combat for more than five cumulative days, yet two were killed and the other two received crippling wounds.

Standing at left is Edward Duclos of West Springfield, Massachusetts. PFC Duclos was killed on Saipan, June 16 1944.

Beside him is Homer L. “Drummer” Hager. Hager, a bazooka man, was wounded in action on Namur, February 1 1944. He returned to the company as a bazooka team leader in a demolitions squad, but was hit a second time, also on June 16, and was permanently removed from combat.

Squatting at left is Ellis Thomas. “Wiley” Thomas, a rifleman, was promoted to corporal following the battle of Namur. He was killed in action on Saipan on June 18, 1944.

And beside Thomas is Everett Tackett of Allen, Kentucky. PFC Tackett was leading a fire team on Saipan when he was hit on June 18, 1944. He was discharged for disability within a year.

It’s interesting to note the coincidence that each pair, standing and kneeling, were hit on the same day, and that in each case the leftmost man lost his life. It’s also easy to imagine that each pair, as buddies and probably squadmates, were fighting close together when they were hit during the first furious days on Saipan.

For good measure, here’s a nice portrait of Everett Tackett in his dress blues from the same source.

b_etackett

Charles M. Krieve

New photos of Company A, courtesy of James Krieve. James’ grandfather, PFC Charles Milan Krieve, was born in 1919 and inducted into the Marine Corps in June, 1944. He trained as a mortarman in California before being assigned to the 36th Replacement Draft in December, 1944.

Instead of heading overseas to Iwo Jima, the majority of the 36th appears to have been diverted to Hawaii. When the wrecked 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions returned from Iwo in March of 1945, many units drew replacements from this draft. Private Krieve was assigned to the mortar section of Company A immediately after their return from Iwo, and trained with them for the invasion of Japan. These photographs were presumably taken at Camp Maui in the summer of 1945.

Charles Krieve (left) with a buddy.

Charles Krieve (left) with a buddy.

The unknown friend poses with a deuce-and-a-half truck.

The unknown friend poses with a deuce-and-a-half truck.

An unidentified group of Marines. PFC Krieve is third from right in the back row.

An unidentified group of Marines. PFC Krieve is third from right in the back row.

If you can identify any of the Marines in these photos, please contact the webmaster!

Charles Krieve served through March, 1946 and was honorably discharged as a private first class. Following the war, he settled in Michigan and raised a family with his wife, Gail, before passing away in 1972. His full biography will be featured following some additional research.

Many thanks to the Krieve family for permission to share these photographs.

Joe Driskell at Pearl Harbor

Just came across this neat article about Joe Driskell, from an unknown newspaper in the collection of Vigo County (Indiana) Public Library.

driskell_article

Image direct link

More about Joe Driskell

Charlie Company Signatures

CharlieCompanySignatures

A great souvenir of Corporal Bill Logan’s service, kindly provided by his son Brad. This document was probably given to Logan shortly before the regiment demobilized at Camp Pendleton in October 1945, as it has a mix of signatures from veterans returned from rear echelon assignments plus new replacements who joined C/24th Marines just before the end of the war. Most are machine gunners, and are either Logan’s long-time comrades (Glenn Buzzard, Mike Mervosh, Don Marston, Sil Paulini, Wallace Taylor, Carl McMahan) or, probably, junior Marines from the squad he would have led into combat in Japan. A few riflemen signed the paper as well, as did the platoon corpsman, PhM2c Andrew Kane.

Many of those who signed appear in this photo below, also from the Logan family, showing the remnants of Charlie Company after the battle of Iwo Jima. The circled Marine may be Bill Logan, but as Brad Logan says “I should emphasize that the man circled on it is not necessarily Dad (I am not sure and my wife is convinced it is not).  For all I know, one of us kids made the circle, thinking it was him but not confirming that with Dad.”

The identities of most of the men in this photograph remain unknown – if you have any further information, please leave a comment!

Photo courtesy Brad Logan.

Photo courtesy Brad Logan.

Faces To Names: Robert Santerre & William Logan

Two more previously unseen photographs of 1/24 Marines were kindly sent in by their families in the past few weeks.

a_santerre

Photo submitted by Pamela (Santerre) Sloope, daughter of Robert Santerre.

Robert Ulderic Santerre, born September 9, 1925, and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire. Robert enlisted in February, 1943 at the age of seventeen. He spent the first months of his service as a guard at Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia, then was assigned to the 59th Replacement Draft headed for the Pacific. PFC Santerre was intended to be a replacement for a Second Marine Division casualty of the battle of Saipan, but on July 12, 1944 was attached to the Fourth Marine Division instead. He joined Captain Irving Schechter’s veteran Company A, 1/24th Marines, and twelve days later made his first combat landing with them on the island of Tinian.

Santerre was only on Tinian for a few hours; he was shot in the back during the great Japanese banzai attack early in the morning of July 25, 1944 and evacuated to a hospital ship. The company finished up the campaign without him, and as the surviving Second Marine Division replacements were released back to their original units, those in Able Company who’d gotten to know Santerre in the two weeks before his wounding probably reckoned they had seen the last of him. However, on October 17 1944, Santerre returned to the company. This was unusual in that few of the Second Division men stayed with 1/24, and the explanation probably lay in logistics; Santerre was hospitalized in Hawaii where the Fourth Division was in rest camp, and it was easier to send him there than to ship him to the Second Division’s home on Saipan.

Santerre went on to fight in the battle of Iwo Jima, where he was wounded a second time – again, shot in the back, and in almost the same place as before. This was the end of his combat career. After a lengthy hospital stay, he was honorably discharged as a corporal in time for Christmas, 1945.

After the war, Robert Santerre returned to Nashua, took up a career as a draftsman for General Electric, and started a family. On July 31, 1983, he was brutally attacked and murdered by two individuals who broke into his house and ambushed him in his bedroom. The Nashua Police Department opened the biggest investigation in their history, and finally tracked down the culprits. Pauline Choate (18) and Barry “Bubba” Brown (22) were arrested three months later in San Diego and charged with first degree murder, burglary, and robbery. Both were convicted and sentenced to 12 and 20-life prison terms, respectively.

Santerre, gone before his time, is buried in Massachusetts National Cemetery.

c_logan

Photo provided by Brad Logan, son of William C. Logan

William Curtis Logan, born August 22, 1918 in Clay Center, Kansas. “Bill” Logan enlisted early in the war, on January 20, 1942, and swept through recruit training at MCRD San Diego. He excelled on the rifle range – note the Sharpshooter’s badge he wears – and immediately after graduation was permanently assigned to the range. Although only a private, Logan was quickly made a coach and through the end of 1943 stayed at the recruit depot, teaching boots how to shoot. He also earned two additional weapons qualifications, as evidenced by the decoration on his uniform.

On February 21, 1944, PFC Logan was assigned to C/1/24th Marines as a machine gunner. He would fight through the battles of Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima with Charlie Company, attaining the rank of corporal and command of his own machine gun squad by the time of his discharge. Always reluctant to talk about his experiences, he did share two close calls with his son, Brad.

“In his 80s he finally described two close calls that he thought were on Iwo Jima, one involving what he called a “knee-mortar” attack on his position that killed or wounded (he wouldn’t describe those details) his two partners of his heavy machine gun team and bent the handle of his gun; and another where he was in a fox hole chatting with a man outside the hole who was helmet-less and killed instantly by sniper-fire.  He also recalled vividly a woman wading into the ocean off Marpi Point, Saipan, among those who committed suicide.”

Happily, Bill Logan came home to Clay Center and lived a long and busy life. He passed away in 2009 at the age of ninety, and is buried in his home town.

Gretchen Wood Williams (1923 – 2014)

Gretchen Wood Williams – known to her family as “Big Gretchen,” the younger sister of Lt. Philip Wood and one of the “Dear Girls” to whom he addressed every letter he wrote while in the service, passed away in late August. She had been ill for some time, but the news and realization that she is actually gone has come as a shock to our family. Gretchen was always there, a funny, vivacious presence who (as far as we East Coasters could tell) was the immortal champion of California. And yet, she knew her time had come, and in true Gretchen style met it with a quip and a loving family surrounding her. She was ninety one years old.

gretchenglamor

I learned the news via Facebook post forty-five minutes before the first family email was sent. I walked out of my office and across the Brooklyn Bridge; city living and careers in advertising being the strongest bond between my cousin (first, twice removed) and myself, this seemed appropriate. I wasn’t really paying attention, it just felt like the right thing to do. And naturally, I suppose, I wound up at 120 East 19th Street. This was the address Phil directed his letters to; this was where Gretchen and her mother had lived during the war. I had visited a few times, mostly on Phil’s anniversaries, but it wasn’t really his home. It was Gretchen’s, if only for a few years. She spent the hardest and most traumatic years of her life in that building. I couldn’t imagine she cared for it much. I couldn’t remember asking her. And that’s when I really realized she was gone.

Phil's younger sister, Gretchen Wood, about 1938.

This website – this entire project, the stories it has told, the connections it has inspired or rekindled, the memories of every Marine and every family it touches, are all thanks to Gretchen. She saved her brother Phil’s letters; she loving transcribed his lopsided scrawl over many nights with a typewriter, she passed them around the family to make sure they wouldn’t forget. She sent me, quite unexpectedly, a package several years ago; in it was a letter (beginning “Sit down, baby, because this is going to be a long one”) and an album of mementoes – not just the photographs of Phil that appear on this website, but documents about her parents as well, and their early lives in the American Field Service hospital corps in the Great War. She graciously agreed to be filmed for the documentary New York Goes to War, which featured the very letters and photographs she preserved. A wonderful and witty storyteller, she later wrote nearly two hundred pages of memoirs, which are carefully kept in a binder on my desk awaiting some sort of organization. (Soon, Big Gretchen, I promise.)

The Wood family in 1938. Phil Senior and Phil Junior are in back; cousin Kitsy, mother Margretta and sister Gretchen are in the front. Phil Sr. died in 1940 while filming Our Town.

As much as she was guardian of her brother’s memory, Gretchen lived a full and incredible life of her own. She inherited her father Philip Wood Senior’s ability to win over a crowd with any story she chose; when Phil Senior died suddenly of pneumonia in 1940, it was Gretchen who helped her devastated mother carry on. When Phil Junior was killed on Saipan, Gretchen was forced to leave school to help support her mother; her incredible artistic talents helped her secure a graphic design job and she worked her way up the ladder to become an art director for several print publications. (This is no small accomplishment as the webmaster, who works in the design industry as a writer, will fully attest.) She met, impressed, and married a handsome Air Corps lieutenant named Tom Williams, saw him through Harvard Business School, and moved with him to California where they spent 57 married years and raised children and grandchildren. For most of her life, Gretchen continued to work as a graphic artist; her hand-painted cards were anticipated every Christmas, and several hang in frames on the walls of my childhood home.

It’s difficult to admit to feeling that I’ve learned more about Gretchen in the days since she passed than I did in the thirty years we shared the planet. Or possibly, that I really understand how remarkable a person she was now that it’s too late. I was lucky enough to meet her on a few occasions, and have always been sorry that there were not more (we live on opposite ends of the country). I’m glad that we corresponded as much as we did, and will always be sorry about the things I promised to send the following day, and then didn’t, because I somehow believed there would always be a following day, and then one day there wasn’t. I have my own few memories of a great lady who made me laugh and listen, who was striking to behold, and whose innate creative skills I admired from the day we met. She was my hero’s little sister, and she’s the reason that branch of the family survives. Having that strength makes her a hero, too. It’s a trait the women in my family possess – especially my own younger sister, who carries on Gretchen’s name.

GWW

Last week, I got an email from Gretchen Williams. She was following the website, she said. She was “hugely impressed” but “can only read a little, when a curious moisture occurs in my eyes, and I have to quit, to continue a little later.” About my trip to the Punchbowl to visit Phil, she was “without words,” but wanted me to know he was in “good company” because Ernie Pyle is buried a few feet away.

The email was dated September 1, 2014. Gretchen died on August 27.

There may have been a glitch somewhere in the email service; maybe a family member sent out her last remaining draft emails. I don’t know. But I hope she knows I got the message, even though I couldn’t write back. And I hope she knows how proud I am to count myself among her family.

This website and this project, to which I have dedicated the past eight years and many more to come, have always been dedicated to the memory of Philip Wood. Now, for whatever it may be worth, I want to dedicate my work to “Dear Girl” Gretchen, without whom none of this would be possible.

We miss you both, but we’re glad you’re together again.

Gretchen and Philip Wood, date unknown.

Last Muster: Alfred Eskildsen & Carroll Stout

Two more of 1/24’s veterans have passed away in recent weeks, bringing the (known) number of 2014 passings to six.

b_eskildsen

 

Alfred Eskildsen, known (naturally) as “Esky,” passed away on June 24, at the age of 91.

Born to Eskild and Anna Larsen on March 15, 1923, “Esky” was raised in Stambaugh, Michigan, in a huge family of twenty siblings. His older brother William joined the Marines before the war, and on September 11, 1942, Esky followed in his footsteps. The nineteen-year-old became a machine gunner in Second Platoon, Company D, and first saw combat on the island of Namur in February, 1944. There, he had an unexpected reunion with Platoon Sergeant William Eskildsen, whose 15th Defense Battalion moved in to garrison the islands.

Esky was then reassigned to Company B. His MOS changed from that of machine gunner to automatic rifleman, and he fought for two days in the battle of Saipan before a serious leg wound sent him to Fleet Hospital #108 on Guadalcanal. By October, PFC Eskildsen was back with his company and training for the invasion of Iwo Jima – he had a happy reunion with his foxhole buddy, PFC Charles Earl Brown.

Eskildsen was wounded a second time on Iwo Jima – once again, only two days into the battle – and was sent back to the hospital at Aiea Heights, Hawaii. It was the end of his combat career, and Esky remained under medical care until his discharge from USNTC Great Lakes on October 31, 1945.

While recuperating in Chicago, Alfred Eskildsen met Betty Laurienc; they were married in 1946. He began a career as a carpenter, and in 1954 relocated to Peoria to work for Chuck Brown Builders, a company headed by his old foxhole buddy. The Eskildsens made Peoria their home for the next sixty years, raising a family while Alfred grew to love bowling, dancing, barbecuing, and hunting with his brother Herb up in Montana.

Betty Eskildsen passed away on June 9, 2014, and Alfred followed just two weeks later, on June 24.

***

Carroll Eldridge Stout was a home-grown Tennessee mountain boy, born August 3, 1925 to Asa and Eula Stout. The Stout name was well known in Johnson County during the depression years, and Carroll’s branch made a modest living on a fifty-acre farm which in 1942 boasted three horses, 9 cows, 3 hogs, and 50 chickens. Stout men worked the farm or at factories in nearby Elizabethton; the women were housekeepers. The Tennessee Valley Authority came to survey the house in 1942 and found that “This is one of the most attractive homes in the community. It is a six-room weatherboarded house, three years old, in a good state of repair, well kept and well furnished. They have a nice well-kept lawn with flowers, shrubs, and young shade trees. The house has electric lights and electrical equipment. From all general appearances the family is in good health, well clothed, and clean.” The only quibble the government men had was Mrs. Stout’s habit “of a great many mountain people – dipping snuff.” (The house was in the path of a planned TVA dam; the Stout family simply moved the house intact to a point above the new waterline.)

Such was the atmosphere in which Carroll left for war. After completing his training, he was assigned to Company B, 1/24, and within four days was on his way to combat on Namur. Private Stout served as a rifleman in the Marshall Islands, on Saipan (where he was slightly wounded) and on Tinian. In the fall of 1944, he was reassigned to battalion headquarters to serve with the medical detachment as a combination warrior and stretcher bearer.

Stout was wounded in action on March 8, 1945, and sent to Hawaii to recuperate. He spent the remainder of the war with the 6th MP Battalion in Hawaii, and was discharged with the rank of corporal on January 5, 1946. Following the war, Stout returned to Johnson County and was content to live out the rest of his life there, working for Burlington Industries and raising a family with his wife, Alice. He passed away on July 12, 2014.

 

Semper Fi, Marines. Rest in peace.

Letters from Lorraine Richardson

On July 25, 1944, a Western Union telegram arrived at 202 Main Street, Peabody, Massachusetts. The recipient, Lorraine Caroline Richardson, was living with her in-laws Ross and Florence Richardson; the telegram could only concern TSgt. Arnold Ross Richardson, then on duty with Company A, 24th Marines. “Deeply regret to inform you…” it began.

a_richardson

Arnold Richardson, 1938.

Arnold Richardson lost his life on July 5, during the battle of Saipan. For Lorraine, the nightmare was just beginning. She and Arnold married after the war broke out; he officially made her his next-of-kin, an obligation formerly held by his mother. Florence was unhappy with this arrangement and evidently viewed her daughter-in-law as something of an interloper – Lorraine (whose other correspondence indicates some serious financial trouble) was not only living in Florence’s house, but was now in charge of her son’s remains and stood to receive any medals and benefits. “Everything seems to come to the wife who has been living with us,” she complained to her congressman. “I wonder if you can look into this matter as everyone concerned feels that the father and mother of that boy shouldn’t be left out of this all together.”

Faced with antagonism from her in-laws and reeling from her husband’s death, Lorraine packed her belongings and moved back home in a state of physical and mental collapse. She did not, however, give up on her quest to find some closure. The beginnings of her reconciliation can be seen in these excerpts from her correspondence with Marine Corps Headquarters in the months following her husband’s death.


September 1, 1944

M. G. Craig
First Lieutenant
Headquarters, U.S.M.C.
Washington, D. C.

Dear sir:

On August 5th, I received a form letter from you of the date that my husband was killed; and since then I haven’t heard a word about any of the particulars surrounding his death. While I know that I will be informed as soon as any are received by you, I can’t help wishing that I would hear soon.

I intend to join the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve about the first of October, and it would be so much easier for me if, by that time, I knew all the details of his death. Then, I could put them all into the back of my mind and start my new life with a settled mind. As it is, I am forever wondering how it happened and that is making it very hard for me.

I understand that I cannot have the body until after the war is over. Therefore, at this time, I would like to make the request that his body be sent home to me as soon as possible after the end of the war. It would make it so much easier for me if I could see that proof that he is dead and have a grave to which I could turn for consolation. As it is now, I have nothing but a telegram saying my husband has been killed in action, and it all seems like a horrible nightmare.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for anything you can do for me with regard to sending his body to me and relieving my mind of its terrible burden.

Very truly yours,

Lorraine Richardson


September 16, 1944
13 Jones Court
Lynn, Massachusetts

Marine Corps Headquarters
Attention Casualty Section
Washington, D. C.

Gentlemen,

On July 5, 1944, my husband, Arnold Ross Richardson, Technical Sergeant, Serial No. 264338, was killed in action at Saipan Island, Marianas Islands.

As I intend to join the Marine Corps myself shortly, I would appreciate it very much if you could arrange to have his personal effects sent to me as soon as possible. I would like to have them before I enter the service as then I could put all my sorrow into the back of my mind and start life all over again with a more-or-less free and peaceful mind.

There must be about sixty letters and a few packages that I mailed after the date of his death, and I wonder if you could arrange to have those also returned to me as soon as possible.

Thanking you very much for all your assistance in my hour of sorrow, I remain,
Very truly yours,

Lorraine Richardson


September 18, 1944
13 Jones Court
Lynn, Mass.

Gentlemen,

This is to advise you that I have moved from 202 Main Street, Peabody Massachusetts, to 13 Jones Court, Lynn, Massachusetts.

Please, therefore, address any checks or mail for me to 13 Jones Ct. Lynn, Massachusetts in the future. I am now living with my mother and hope that I will receive the check for six months gratuity soon as I am at present unemployed due to a physical and mental breakdown caused by the shock of my husband’s death.

Thanking you very much for all your assistance, I remain,
Very truly yours,

Lorraine Richardson


13 Jones Court
Lynn, Mass.
Oct. 11, 1944

Captain Josephus Daniels, Jr.

Gentlemen,

On August 25, I mailed you my application for six months’ death gratuity in the case of my husband, the late Technical Sergeant Arnold Ross Richardson.

Yesterday, I was sworn in as a private in the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. I expect to be called for training school on November 15th and would like very much to pay all my debts before I leave. It would be wonderful if you could send me my check as soon as possible so that I can pay these debts and buy a few things before I leave for training, as I have no money at all of my own.

Would you kindly let me know whether or not I can expect it in the next week or two?

Thank you very much for your kind attention, I remain,
Sincerely yours,

Pvt. Lorraine Richardson


Lorraine Richardson went on to serve with Headquarters, USMC in Washington, D. C. – the very office to which she had directed her letters. The work helped her to overcome her depression, and she remained in the service until 1946, attaining the rank of corporal. While in the service, she received her husband’s personal effects (a ring, a single letter, some photographs, and a wallet containing a nail file and two money orders), and in September 1945 was presented with Arnold Richardson’s posthumous Bronze Star medal.

LorraineRichardsonBSM

In 1947, Lorraine received a final shipment of her late husband’s belongings; they amounted only to a flashlight, a towel, four packets of cigarettes and one of gum. His body was brought back to Massachusetts in 1948, by which time Lorraine had remarried to a Mr. John J. Shaw. The Richardson family took responsibility for his burial, and brought him home to Oakdale Cemetery in Peabody.

Memorial Day 2014

I happened to be in Bradenton, Florida visiting family this past weekend. The route from Tampa to Bradenton took us through St. Petersburg, and past a small cemetery called Sunnyside.

Although it’s only a few hundred feet from the freeway, and alongside another main thoroughfare, the air is quiet and still except for the humming cicadas. A light breeze cuts the humidity, stirring the Spanish moss and carrying a faint smell of flowers. A few families walk slowly across grounds, kids kicking up the sandy dirt, parents brushing away the leaves that accumulate over the flat gravestones. One elderly lady sits motionless for twenty minutes, hand on a gravestone, without saying a word – at least, none that anyone can hear, or are meant to hear.

It’s not such a bad place to spend eternity, if only you didn’t have to die mangled at 22 years old, to be brought back to lie alongside a mother whose death was hastened by your own, to have the rest of your family gradually fill in the spaces beside you until one day there was nobody left to come visit, to leave flowers or a stone or even a flag. You might have been a nonagenarian visitor yourself, or the elderly lady might have been communing with your gravestone, a stone with dates spanning more than 1922 to 1945. But it doesn’t, and she isn’t, and you’re not.

None of these things happened because you chose to leave your family and home, volunteered to fight and fought bravely, and were in the wrong place at the wrong time and lost everything you could have had. You didn’t do it for you; you did it for them, for us, even for the Northern stranger en route to his family who showed up and then didn’t know what to say to thank you or to show that you’re still remembered, so he cleaned up a little, took a few photos, patted your headstone and walked away.

We don’t know what you sacrificed; the living will never know, so we try to quantify with “everything,” but really it’s beyond our abilities to comprehend. We attempt to keep your life story alive, but every time we tell it, it always ends too soon, and it’s never a happy ending. So we try our best to remember, because it’s the only thing we understand how to do, the only way to keep the ending from being so utterly heartbreaking.

Today, at least, for a few minutes in the shade of Sunnyside Cemetery, you were alive again. I hope a few words of heartfelt thanks were enough. They were all that I could offer.

That, and the promise to remember.

Semper Fi, Ellis.

underwood_grave

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 984 other followers