Notes from the past…

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A hero's memorial

Back in May, around Memorial Day, I posted about a distant relative who died in WWII. Capt Jerry Roy McDonald’s fighter was downed near Munich, Germany on 28 Feb 1945. He was only 21 years old.

At that time, I wrote to the American Battle Monuments Commission and requested a photograph of his headstone in Lorraine American Cemetery in St Avold (Moselle), France.

That photograph arrived today…and it is simply wonderful! I have tears in my eyes as I type this!

A 16″ X 20″ color lithograph of the cemetery, with the Memorial in the center surrounded with the bleached white headstones of many of its 10,489 heroes is accompanied by a very interesting booklet containing a history of the cemetery, a discussion of the battles that went on in the area and more photographs.

(The lithograph as much better than my photograph, believe me! It is too large for my scanner and photography isn’t one of my talents! :) )

At the top right corner of the lithograph is affixed a 3″ x 5″ black and white photograph of Capt Jerry R McDonald’s headstone:

Thank you, my dear Jerry, for helping to maintain the freedoms that we enjoy today. You are not forgotten.


Never forget….

When I was a teenager, I had a “MIA bracelet”, containing the name and date-lost of a Vietnam War soldier. His name was Maj. Gregg Hartness, and he went missing on 26 Nov 1968. I wore that bracelet for many years, until it was so worn that it made my wrist raw. I still have the bracelet. has a new Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorial exhibit. So, I went to my jewelry box and found Maj. Hartness’s bracelet. After a very simple search, I found his name on the wall:

Born on 18 April 1937, Maj. Hartness was 31 years old when his plane was shot down over Laos. A pilot with the 7th Air Force, 504th TSG, 20th TASS, he was from Dallas, TX, married and a Presbyterian.
A quick Google search led me to an excellent page with several articles about Maj. Hartness. His remains were found in February 2005, and he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full honors. I am not ashamed to say that I had tears running down my face when I finished reading Maj. (now Lt. Colonel) Hartness’s story.

It is too easy to take our freedom for granted. But we must never forget…

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Abraham Lincoln, 19 Nov 1863