During World War II, their 4 boys were all in the service, all over seas. My Dad was a signalman in the Navy, and spent most of his 4 years in the South Pacific, on very small ships (including wooden Subchasers!). We honor him today, his birthday, and Memorial Day.
Today I also think about my cousin Tommy Fitzpatrick, who was just 6 months older than me. Tommy was killed in Vietnam in 1969, just 21 years old. His death is an unending ache to his family and friends.
I also think about my Notre Dame/Innsbruck friend, Steve Shields. I studied with Steve in Salzburg and Innsbruck, Austria in 1967-68, and we graduated from Notre Dame together in 1970. Just a couple years later, around age 23 or 24, Steve's helicopter was shot down in Vietnam and he was killed. Rest in Peace, Tommy and Steve.
I also think about some of the unsung heroes of the Civil Rights and Peace Movement on Memorial Day. There is no official holiday for them, but they are also heroes for our country and our world. Names that come quickly to mind are Ernest and Marion Bromley, Maurice McCrackin, and Chuck Matthei. But there are many more, many whose names are totally lost to history.
So to all the heroes, both of wars and of the struggle for peace and justice, we say Thank You!
|Tommy Fitzpatrick in Vietnam (center)|
|Dad and Mom, August 1947, Willoughby|
|Steve Shields (left)--Salzburg, Austria|
[Also, Charlie Bradley, Brian Wilson, me, Mike Gerrity]