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August 15, 2005     523 Words

Remembering WWII and Those Who Served

CINCINNATI—On Memorial Day this year, Laura Frederick of Washington, D.C., placed two roses from her garden at the World War II Memorial in our nation’s capital. She did it for both her grandfather who served in the Army during the war and for her grandmother who died a year ago, after raising her three sons alone. Flowers, medals, ribbons, photos, news clippings, note cards and other artifacts have been left by visitors who wish to honor the men and women who risked—and in many cases lost—their lives in the Second World War

St. Anthony Messenger’s September cover article, entitled, “Remembering World War II,” commemorates the 60th anniversary of the last world war. Author Ann M. Augherton, managing editor of Arlington Catholic Herald, interviewed several servicemen and servicewomen, their families and others who visited Washington D.C.’s newest memorial. After August 18, the article will be found at:

World War II ended 60 years ago, but the memories are still fresh in the minds of those who served in it. The new memorial—which has been visited by an estimated 4.7 million people since it was dedicated a year ago—serves as a reminder to us all. Lowell Fry, a tour guide at the memorial, calls the veterans his heroes. “They did their job, they went overseas, they came home and they didn’t talk about the blood or the guts,” he says. “When you look at the statistics of how many people were killed, it must have been awful.”

Comfort was hard to find in the war but, for many Catholic soldiers, rosaries provided much needed solace. For Bernard J. Burns, Jr., a combat medic in the Army’s 33rd infantry division, his rosary got him through dark nights in foxholes. “You’d say your rosary until you fell asleep, then you’d have to dig around in the morning to find it.”

Men weren’t the only ones who served. Lorraine Dieterle, 81, taught combat photography in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. One of about 400,000 women who served in the military, Dieterle says it was love of country that led her to enlist. She says her service in the Coast Guard was one of the greatest experiences in her life. “It made me a better person,” she says.

Because World War II is filled with thousands of stories, the Washington, D.C., memorial serves as the perfect gathering place to share them. A handwritten note taped to the wall with a small flag reads, “In memory of Barnard Theodore King, Born Nov. 16, 1925, N.Y., Died May 4, 2000.” King had served in the Army Air Corps in China, Burma and the Indian Theatre. The note was signed, “Max King, Grandson, May 30, 2005.”

Another note at the memorial accompanies a single white flower. Inside the note is a statement that mirrors the feelings many in this country have for the veterans of World War II. It reads, simply, “We will never forget.”


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