Monday, May 28, 2007


This is the day we remember those who lost their lives in combat over the ages.

My Uncle Al died in World War II in April of 1945. I really don't remember him and I only found three pictures of him.

Uncle Al, Miami Beach, Feb. 1940

Uncle Al with my grandparents and aunt, Miami Beach, around 1940-1941

Uncle Al with his daughter Elaine, Hammond, IN, 1942

Uncle Al was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1918. He emigrated to the United States with his father Jack in 1937 and they lived on the south side of Chicago. He was friends with my dad and my Uncle Morrie. I guess you could say that he was responsible for introducing my mother and my Aunt Lil to their future spouses. He also had family who remained in Canada. They still have large annual reunions and members of the U.S. branch of the family attend.

In my mind, he didn't look like a soldier -- he looked more like an accountant with his mustache and his glasses. I just can't imagine him fighting, shooting his gun, and killing people. I was only three years old when he died. I think of him often and how his death changed our family. My aunt said that he was the love of her life. When my mother died, I found some letters that he had written to my parents when he was in the service. I still have them. My aunt remarried after Uncle Al's death and subsequently had two children with Uncle Mickey. If Uncle Al had lived, I would most definitely have different cousins and my aunt would still be married to the love of her life. If he had lived, he would now be 89 years old.

Today I am also thinking of those other family members who are no longer with us. My mom and dad, of blessed memory, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, and many acquaintances. Oh, how I miss them all and wish I could see them just one more time.

I was reminded the other day how tenuous our short journey in life really is. I read an obituary about a woman I knew. She was a practicing psychologist who came back to her hometown to care for her mother after her father died. She gave up her home in Nashville, her friends, her practice, and everything she knew to care for her mother during her mother's last years. This woman stayed here after her mother died to live in her childhood home. She died the other day, all alone, at 12:50 a.m. There were no surviving family members. This woman, who once invited me to be her friend, was a year younger than I am. The obituary said there would be no visitation or services, just a graveside prayer by the minister.

I am reminded today that the wheel of life is constantly revolving. We are expecting a new grandson any day now. His generation takes the place of the previous generation. My hope is that my grandson will never have to fight in any war and his parents will not have to experience the agony of losing a son in a battle of wills.

I feel great sorrow for all those parents who must live the rest of their lives without their precious sons and daughters who died in war and with those sons and daughters mutilated all in the name of freedom. How can we forget any of them, on this or any other day?

We honor our fallen heroes on this day, lest we forget.

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At May 28, 2007 10:56 AM, Blogger Susie said...

A truly beautiful and moving post..
Bill's Mom lost her only brother (also named Al) in WWII. Her mother was then a "Gold Star Mother" which meant you had lost a son in the war.
So sad about your friend, to die with no family. Bill and I often say that our family is our greatest legacy (and gift)
Can't wait to hear news of the newest member of "your legacy"

At May 28, 2007 1:56 PM, Blogger Alipurr said...

mom, was it anyone I knew too...the person who died?

thanks for more family stories/history...i will do my best to remember and tell my children, too

At May 28, 2007 2:13 PM, Blogger Smalltown RN said...

What a wonderful story...I am sorry for your are right how can we ever forget nor should those who have given everything for their you I pray that some day there will be no more wars..that our children and their children will be able to live freely.....oh Nirvana......

cheers my dear friend

At May 28, 2007 4:35 PM, Blogger jellyhead said...

This is a wonderful post, Motherkitty. I loved the photos of your Uncle Al - what a sad but sweet story of the love he and your auntie shared. Little Elaine was such a bonny baby!

When I saw you had posted (on Bloglines), I raced here thinking maybe your new grandchild had arrived. I can't wait to hear all about the little tyke!

At May 29, 2007 6:23 AM, Blogger susan said...

Thanks for sharing the family stories and vintage photos, a great Memorial Day post.

At June 09, 2007 6:46 AM, Blogger Kerri said...

You do such a wonderful job with these memorial posts MK. How nice to remember your uncle Al this way.
Freedom has a high price indeed, and I'm very grateful to those who've fought in the name of freedom. We can never repay the debt, but we can keep them in our hearts and prayers and never forget.


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