Letter to the Editor: Memorial Day Memories

To the Editor:
At this time of year, I always think of the teachers that gave their time to teach us 11-13 year-old girls flag drills to be performed on Memorial Day and the 4th of July. We did the flag drills on the stage as the school band played. After the program we were taken to the cemetery and we would put our small flags on the servicemen’s graves.
This isn’t the main thing I have to tell about. My husband Ted’s brother served in the navy during World War II on an aircraft carrier. In his last letter to us, he was feeling so sad that he hadn’t received mail from home. A short time later his ship was hit by a kamikaze. He was among the 92 young men killed that day.
My brother was also in the navy aboard the USS Rathburne, converted into a high-speed transport which carried underwater demolition teams in the Pacific. He saw piles of mail on one of the islands. When it was in the way, they moved it with a bulldozer, but our boys didn’t dare touch it. I don’t remember the name of the island and my brother passed away a couple of months ago. It could have been in the area of Hogushi, where his ship was hit by a kamikaze. Just a few boys were injured and the ship was able to make it back to San Diego.
I often wondered what happened to all those letters and packages. In my mind, it would sure have made a big bonfire.

Betty Bodley