Monday, May 25, 2020

Happy Memorial Day

Wishing everyone a safe Memorial Day, as we salute the men and women who have died serving our country. The occasion got me searching for information about my first cousin William M. Lindes (Billy to those in the family), who perished in 1953 during the Korean War. Because of my father's large Irish Catholic family, Billy was nearly the same age as my dad and Dad's twin, Kenny, so at 17 lied about his age so he could enlist to serve alongside his best-friend uncles. My cousin apparently made his decision rather hastily and wound up not being vaccinated properly -- are you reading this, anti-vaxxers? -- and tragically contracted acute encephalomyelitis and died on the island prefecture of Okinawa at just 19 years of age. My mom says my father carried deep guilt over "letting" his nephew tag along ... to fight a faraway war. (What do average young men feel guilty about these days, not liking their friends’ and relatives’ Instagram posts?) Above is Billy’s tombstone in Havre de Grace, Maryland, where he's buried with his mother and father -- my Aunt Margaret (Dad's eldest sister) and Uncle Bill, who was a Swedish boxing protege of my Irish grandfather, Mickey Walsh. And below is a testament to the incredible things you might find online these days -- contemporaneous articles about his death and his return to the States that appeared in the Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, 

(Aug. 6, 1953)

(Sept. 5, 1953, which happened to be my dad's 21st birthday)

Kenny Get Your Gun: Uncle "Maybe Gay" Kenny, Betty Hutton and my dad in Okinawa

My cousin Bill Lindes flanked by the Walsh twins, Bill and Kenny

1 comment:

joepelpro said...

Thanks for sharing this