My annual story about Memorial Day

My great grandmother had three sons who lived to adulthood (several died as children in a car accident, as did her husband).  In World War II, my great uncle David joined the Marines, my great uncle Fred joined the Coast Guard and served on a hospital ship, and my grandfather Ralph joined the Army Air Corps as a pilot.
The marine, my great-uncle David, fought at Iwo Jima.  For those who just know the statue, it was a long siege.  David was in the trenches for some time.  One day he was sitting there when he noticed an empty can of peaches a couple of yards from him.  He had been instructed to bury empty cans so that they wouldn't reflect light and serve as a point of reference for mortars.  He crawled over to bury the can and a second later a shell fell right where he had been sitting before.  The can of peaches saved his life.

However the shrapnel from the mortar injured his leg and he was transferred to a hospital ship.  It just happened to be the one that his brother, Fred was serving on.  When Fred saw on the list of patients aboard the ship that his brother was one of them, he requested to be assigned to his care, which was granted.  He also arranged to have a message sent to his mother that his brother had been hurt, but was going to be okay.  Fred tended to David every day until he recovered.  Fred went on to work for NASA and the Apollo moon program.  David became a professional woodcarver whose work was featured in the Smithsonian.

Brothers caring for brothers, though, that's what today is all about for me.


  1. Wonderful story. Two of my father's brothers were Marines in Pacific in WWII and both of them ended up as patients at the same time on the same hospital ship.


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