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Honoring the fallen on Memorial Day
Posted By: mroeder75, 05-27-2019, 09:22 PM

I thought a lot about my Great Uncle Marvin who gave all in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest and is buried in Henri Chapell Cemetery in Belgium. These thoughts were prompted not just by the holiday, but also by a news story about a woman who has tended the grave of an American soldier in the Netherlands since she was 15, she is now 89. She recently sought out the family of the soldier whose grave she has tended to every year since 1945. That man in that story, also died in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest went missing one day after my Great Uncle Marvin went missing and was later found greviously wounded. Memorial Day: WWII soldier's grave tended to by stranger for 74 years


Just think of the sacrifices people have made for freedom, and the sacrifices those have given in the appreciation for freedom to complete strangers.

I walked a few blocks to the local cemetery today. It was beautiful on Memorial Day earlier with the sun shining. My photos do little justice. It was late in the day; skies clouded over. There is one wayward flag in the distance. I walked over to view the local civil war monument. That was the "Big One" until WW II, and it is still "A" "Big One."

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05-28-2019, 02:40 PM   #2
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Those telegrams are sad to read and remember that these were real people. My father came back from fighting for the full duration of the war in New Guinea but quite a few of his friends didn't. I am writing about their war now and I find myself wondering who they were.
05-28-2019, 04:21 PM - 3 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by PJ1 Quote
Those telegrams are sad to read and remember that these were real people. My father came back from fighting for the full duration of the war in New Guinea but quite a few of his friends didn't. I am writing about their war now and I find myself wondering who they were.
Absolutely right, these were very real people. Grandpa and his siblings were orphaned when their parents died in their 40s circa 1921. He was very close to his siblings. Grandpa was the oldest and at age 16 he was raising the next 3 younger children. The very youngest was only 1 year old. She was sent off to live with an aunt.

I hope I don't bore everyone out of their gourd.

A proper tribute to the fallen, should include a photo, so here is my Great Aunt Millicent "Mitt" Roeder, with my Great Uncle Marvin. Marvin was 37 when he died. He was single. I think the army took older single men into the military during WW II. Dad said he thought Marvin had been having the time of his life traveling throughout the U.S. and to Europe until this happened.
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05-28-2019, 05:10 PM   #4
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Nicely put together. What is really sad is that he died on my birthday. True story and of course, sorry for your family's loss. My father's oldest brother Tony (whom I am named after) was killed the same year in Cassino, Italy. One irony of war, a young, Italian male returns to the land of his father and gets his head blown off. Thanks for sharing.

TT

05-28-2019, 08:58 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonytee Quote
Nicely put together. What is really sad is that he died on my birthday. True story and of course, sorry for your family's loss. My father's oldest brother Tony (whom I am named after) was killed the same year in Cassino, Italy. One irony of war, a young, Italian male returns to the land of his father and gets his head blown off. Thanks for sharing.

TT
Returning to the homeland to fight against people you might be related to is an irony of war.

In Marvin's case he was injured about 87 miles from the Roeder ancestral home in Luxembourg. Luxembourg was an occupied country. It was liberated about 2-months before Marvin was injured. Luxembourgers were conscripted into the German Army, but there was also a considerable resistance movement inside Luxembourg, and several who fought for the allied cause.
05-28-2019, 11:13 PM   #6
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And incidentally, the house in the background is the farm house my dad lived in when he was about 12 at the main four corners in Teeds Grove, Iowa. The sled in the background . . . I should have asked him when I was on the phone with him tonight . . . I am guessing, since he was the youngest child, was his sled.
05-29-2019, 01:50 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonytee Quote
Tony (whom I am named after) was killed the same year in Cassino, Italy
Monte Cassino overlooked the road we travelled (by bus) from Rome to Naples/Pompeii. It is an impressive site and it was bitterly contested.
05-29-2019, 08:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by PJ1 Quote
Monte Cassino overlooked the road we traveled (by bus) from Rome to Naples/Pompeii. It is an impressive site and it was bitterly contested.
I have just read the Wikipedia article on the Monte Cassino battle. It was harshly contested. Lots of casualties. An ancient abbey destroyed, and rebuilt after the war.

It is articles like this one that reminds us the importance of avoiding unnecessary conflict. Unfortunately playground bullies, and men with short man's disease, historically will inhabit top spots in government which can lead to disastrous conflicts as they try to prove themselves to others.

Check out this photo on Wikipedia. I don't think I'd be smiling at the enemy, especially if I were just captured, Battle of Monte Cassino - Wikipedia unless I thought this beats returning home to Germany. Most of the captives are taking it seriously. One of the captors seems to be taunting the captives. It is quite a photo.

I did not know until tonight that Poland had any military involvement in WW II on behalf of the Allies. Thanks for posting. I learned something.

05-29-2019, 10:16 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mroeder75 Quote
I have just read the Wikipedia article on the Monte Cassino battle. It was harshly contested. Lots of casualties. An ancient abbey destroyed, and rebuilt after the war.

It is articles like this one that reminds us the importance of avoiding unnecessary conflict. Unfortunately playground bullies, and men with short man's disease, historically will inhabit top spots in government which can lead to disastrous conflicts as they try to prove themselves to others.

Check out this photo on Wikipedia. I don't think I'd be smiling at the enemy, especially if I were just captured, Battle of Monte Cassino - Wikipedia unless I thought this beats returning home to Germany. Most of the captives are taking it seriously. One of the captors seems to be taunting the captives. It is quite a photo.

I did not know until tonight that Poland had any military involvement in WW II on behalf of the Allies. Thanks for posting. I learned something.


Another irony of war is that my father's brother Tony was the last American soldier killed at Cassino. What happened after the fighting was over, they began what was called a "Mopping Up" detail. Only one problem, someone forgot about the last German sniper, and he's the one that got my would have been uncle. I was in the Monastery in September of 1966, and trust me, the place was not even close to being completely restored and that was 21 years after the war. Knowing the way the Italian government moves, I wouldn't be surprised if the place is still a pile of rubble. Thanks again for posting such an awesome photograph. Take care of it, a family treasure, for sure.

Tony
05-30-2019, 12:27 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mroeder75 Quote
I did not know until tonight that Poland had any military involvement in WW II on behalf of the Allies.
The involvement may not be well known but as well as Army units there were Free French, Polish, and Czech (and probably some others) squadrons in the RAF. There were Polish Army units (some of who fought to the bitter end at Dunkirk to enable the mass evacuations. Belgians and some Dutch troops were also involved. There were Danes and Norwegians (and probably others) who served with British Special Forces. One of the Free French pilots - Pierre Clostermann - was a squadron leader and an "ace" flying Tempests. His book is worth reading ("The Big Show" (Le Grand Cirque). It was certainly a "World War" in every way.
05-30-2019, 08:10 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by PJ1 Quote
The involvement may not be well known but as well as Army units there were Free French, Polish, and Czech (and probably some others) squadrons in the RAF. There were Polish Army units (some of who fought to the bitter end at Dunkirk to enable the mass evacuations. Belgians and some Dutch troops were also involved. There were Danes and Norwegians (and probably others) who served with British Special Forces. One of the Free French pilots - Pierre Clostermann - was a squadron leader and an "ace" flying Tempests. His book is worth reading ("The Big Show" (Le Grand Cirque). It was certainly a "World War" in every way.
Thank you to them, and thank you for this hx lesson.

---------- Post added 05-30-19 at 10:20 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Tonytee Quote
Another irony of war is that my father's brother Tony was the last American soldier killed at Cassino. What happened after the fighting was over, they began what was called a "Mopping Up" detail. Only one problem, someone forgot about the last German sniper, and he's the one that got my would have been uncle. I was in the Monastery in September of 1966, and trust me, the place was not even close to being completely restored and that was 21 years after the war. Knowing the way the Italian government moves, I wouldn't be surprised if the place is still a pile of rubble. Thanks again for posting such an awesome photograph. Take care of it, a family treasure, for sure.

Tony
I have several photos of my great uncle and his brother in uniform state-side as they waited to go to the war. One of my first cousins posted photos on Memorial Day of a letter to Facebook from Marvin's sergeant who tended to his wounds, and comforted him. It was so very moving, I wept and I hadn't even been born for more than a decade later, and never knew him. I only know when Grandpa talked about his brother 30 years later, every time he mentioned his brother, it seemed like yesterday that he received the above telegram. I am told Grandpa carried the above telegram in his wallet, possibly for decades. In fact he got two telegrams. The first one said his brother was MIA.

Last edited by mroeder75; 05-30-2019 at 08:22 PM.
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