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. ,
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.
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