Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Punchbowl National Cemetery
Honolulu Hawaii

As I am sitting here in my childhood friend’s apartment on the 20th floor of this Wilder Ave. apartment I look out the window directly at Punchbowl.

About 2 hours ago I rode up there on my bike. I went first to Bill Humphrey grave site and then to the memorial for service personnel missing in action to see the inscription for Bob Fabricus. Bob’s body was never recovered having plunged into the night ocean.

These two men, both Marine Pilots were the husbands of my only two older sisters Pat and Jeannie.

Both of these two men were heroes of my childhood. If you would know anything about them they would join the legions of American heroes that hopefully you hold in your heart already.

As some of you may not be familiar with Punchbowl National Cemetery I encourage you to Google it on ‘images’ to look around. There is a section of the Cemetery dedicated to the fallen soldiers of various campaigns.

After I paid my respects to Bill and Bob I went up to this section. At the crest of this beautiful memorial is a tribute to....
“In Memory. United States of America military Personnel captured by the Japanese in March 1942, worked on the the Siam-Burma “Death’ Railway as prisoners of war, and 133 died due to malnutrition, tropical disease, starvation, medical neglect and other causes.”

My father’s best friend, ‘Hutch’, B.M. Hutchinson’s name is inscribed upon this memorial. His two sons are coming here to Hawaii this summer to lay to rest his ashes at Hanalei Bay on Kauai. They asked me to come with them on this occasion. I will.

I knew there was a reason for moving back here. This is just one.

I really can not begin to share with you the importance of a visit to Punchbowl in Honolulu but I must at least try. Go up this path to this memorial. There are tributes laid along this path by peoples of the world. Read them. I encourage you to do this. I beg you to do this. Not for me. Not for you. It is for you to pass on as a touchstone of grace to your children.

Bill Humphrey passed away when I was 10. Bob Fabricus passed away when I was 12. I served our country in Viet Nam as a Navy Sailor assigned to Cam Ranh Station in Viet Nam. That was my last assignment before being discharged. Honorable Discharge. I would never begin to write this without that notation.