People sometime refer to the Korean War as the forgotten war, but I want to take a moment to thank people for taking the time to remember those who lost their lives in that and other wars on this Memorial Day.
My uncle, Bill O’Donnell, was killed in Korea in 1951. He was a great athlete who played baseball and football at The Manlius School in New York and at Seton Hall University.
On Memorial Day in 2000 an article was published by Bill McGurn in the Wall Street Journal:
He and his wife had only been in Madison two years. His wife had a copy of “Always With Us” about the young men who gave their lives in various wars. Mr. McGurn spent ten years in Asia and came across many soldiers and visited many cemeteries there–Vietnam, Korea, Japan. He was very personally conscious of the sacrifices and final resting places of these men. He and his wife were struck by discovering in the book the fact that Bill O’Donnell had lived in their house–to find a face linked to that address. They never met the O’Donnell family, and he imagined that sad telegram that every soldier’s mother knows about even before she opens the content. He then wrote the article as a tribute to the men and families that sacrificed in a town such as Madison.
The article was so powerful that the Mayor of Madison then sent it to the mayor of Morristown, NJ and others to try to get the Morristown Armory named after my uncle. Through the help of people my family has never met, my uncle was honored 50 years after his death on Sept. 20, 2001 with the naming of a the Heritage Room at the armory after him.
This month my father was contacted by the Manlius-Pebble Hill School (fomerly Manlius School) to let him know that the school will be having a dedication this June for his brother and other students that were killed in the Korean and Vietnam Wars and were never honored. I am once again amazed that after so many years people still remember and honor those who have given up their lives for this country.
On this Memorial Day take some time to think about all of those who have been lost and know that you can have a large impact on preserving their memory.