Excerpts from my grandmother's column published weekly from April, 1937 to August, 1970, in many NE Oklahoma newspapers. So many concepts still relevant for today.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
By Memorial Day, 1947, the country was struggling with how to handle the war dead. Read on to see the amazing -- and coordinated effort -- that followed on to return the soldiers to families who made the request. An interesting bit of history as you pay your respects on this Memorial Day -- 66 years later.
"When the WWII was over, all possible means was used to
identify all casualties and locate all missing and the war department is quite
emphatic that” all identifications are absolutely positive,” easing the fear
that some families are likely to receive a body other than that of their own
son or daughter. All identified are
unknown are also named.
Our honored dead lie in 201 temporary cemeteries in 57
countries scattered from” Greenland’s icy mountains to India’s coral
strand” and from the jungles of Borneo
to Holland and Italy. WWI dead were practically all concentrated in France
which is readily accessible and, in 1920, appeared to be a peaceful Europe;
then only 60% of our people wanted their dead return, but now 80% of the next
of kin want their WWII heroes brought the home.
Congress has appropriated funds that the fill the desires of every
deceased service person’s family.
Regrettable delay and several postponements and the return of our war
dead have been caused by strikes; steel, and consequent shortage of steel
caskets, but the government now hopes to complete their removal within 30
Our honored dead will be returned in a progressive operation
depending on climate, shipping and other factors; there will be no priorities
or distinctions in either time, ship or casket; those lying in Hawaii and
Belgium are scheduled to come first. All
funeral ships will debark their caskets at New York or San Francisco, from
which point 118 funeral cars will forward the flag draped caskets to 15
distribution centers nearest their final destination. Each service person will be accompanied by
an honor guard of the same or higher from his own service. The next of kin and will be advised of the progress
and the exact time of arrival sufficiently in advance so that there will be
ample time to make final preparations.
There are four optional burial plans as set forth in the American Legion
magazine and for May, 1947. "