Monday, May 25, 2015

Memento Mori: Memorial Day

Harold "Hal" Delbert Currey, Jr. (1923-1945) Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps. The co-pilot of a B-29 Superfortress based at North Field on Guam that was downed by enemy antiaircraft fire during a firebombing raid over Tokyo, his body remained unidentified for years after the war. He is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii

[From my personal collection]

[Rainbow over the National Cemetery of the Pacific. Photo U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs]

John "Jack" William Slater (1923-1944) Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps. The co-pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress based at Great Ashfield in Suffolk, England, that was badly damaged during a bombing raid on the Luftwaffe at Merignac Airfield in Bordeaux, and forced to make an emergency landing in the Bay of Biscay. Jack survived the landing but became separated from the rest of the crew. His body was found later and he is buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupré, Liege, Belgium.
[Courtesy of Olive Kennedy]

[The entrance to Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium. Photo American Battle Monuments Commission]

I know that Harold and Bernice Currey, the parents who raised me, never visited their only son's grave.* And as far as I know, my maternal grandparents Harry and Anna Slater never went to Belgium to see Jack's grave either.

*When, after those years of uncertainty, the news arrived that Junior's body had been identified, Hawaii was chosen as his final resting place because Dad told Mother, "If you bring him here, you will have to bury me next to him."

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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