Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's  Day and we say thank you to all the veterans who have served this country.  I have no relatives who served in World War I, my grandfathers were too young.  In World War II I had uncles from both sides of the family who served, but not my father, bad eye sight (which I inherited), and thankfully all of them made it home.
Mac's family was not so lucky, he lost an uncle in World War II, his uncle Mac who he is named after.  He had served in the South Pacific, met a girl in Australia, got engaged, and then near the end of the war he was killed.  Below is the letter his commanding officer sent to his mother.
                                     
Mrs. Mary Hernandez,
927 Watkins St. ,
Hayward, Calif.

Dear Mrs. Hernandez:

     Your son, Corporal Modesto Hernandez, served in this battalion since February, 1942.  He worked in the message center, and I always saw him several times a day.  I knew him quite well.
     On March 20, 1945, we made the assault landing on the beach at Zamboanga.  We immediately began to shoot at the Japs and they fired on us with artillery all through the day.  About five o'clock in the evening one of the shells burst right in front of the dugout where Modesto was working.  It killed several of our boys and wounded many others.  A fragment flew into the dugout and killed your son instantly.
     He was buried in the United States Armed Forces Cemetery No.1 Zamboanga, Mindenao, Phillippine Islands, on March 11, 1945 with full military honors.  The services were conducted by Father Terwood, Catholic Chaplain to the 41st Division of Artillery.  The  Father knew Modesto quite well.
     Your son served in battles at Salamana, New Guinea, Hollandia, Biak Island, Dutch New Guinea and Zamboanga, P.I.  He was very brave in combat under enemy fire and always performed all of his duties in an exemplary manner.  He was willing, cheerful, industrious and efficient as a soldier.  Everyone in this battalion knew him and liked him.  We called him "Shorty."
     We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to you at this time.  You may be justly proud of the fine record your son made in the Army and the splendid service he rendered to our country.  We who were friends and fellow soldiers with Modesto in combat will always remember him with affection.


                                                         Yours sincerely,
     
                                                         Ralph E. Cole
                                                         Lt. Col. F. A.
                                                         Comdg.  205th F. A. Bn.

Mac's Mother told me that it broke her mother's heart when Mac (his name was Modesto, named for a family friend, but everyone called him Mac) was killed  and I can well understand.
My Mac spent 21 years in the Army and each day I'm grateful that he didn't have to serve in a war.
So I say thank you to all those who've served this country
                                            

4 comments:

  1. I can think of nothing worse, as a mother of an only son I would want to die myself should such a thing happen to him.

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  2. I too can well understand his mother's feelings at the loss of her son. The letter from his commanding officer must have given her some comfort knowing that his death was instant and not a long drawn out and painful one. Though I suspect that commanding officers always said that regardless of what actually happened.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this intimate information on Mac. I found myself choking up on reading the letter. He sounded like a wonderful man and we thank him and his lost comrades for the freedom we enjoy today.
    May their souls rest in peace
    Helen Tilston

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