Saturday, April 11, 2015

April 1945

Our hometown weekly newspaper publishes a section called A Glance Into the Past from the files of The Scranton Journal.  I love reading this section. Sometimes I see my own name in the columns from fifty or sixty years ago. Sometimes I got a perfect spelling score if we are looking at sixty years ago or the fifty year old column might have some high school reference. Wow! Am I old or what!

This week's column featured an article from 70 years ago.  It begins: "The five sons of Mr. and Mrs. Jess Ray are in the armed forces. One of them is a prisoner of war in Germany".  Jess and Elsie (Tolsdorf) Ray were my husband's aunt and uncle.  The article goes on to tell where each son was serving.  Jess W. Ray, 29, was a boatswain's mate first class with the Navy sea bees overseas. George H. Ray, 26, was serving with the 6th marine division.  Calvin Lee Ray, 25, also a boatswain's mate first class serving on an overseas ship. Cpl. Dale F. Ray, age 25, was captured at Faid Pass February 17, 1943, and was in a  German prison camp.  Howard, age 21, was a machinist's mate first class stationed at Melbourne, Florida.

Over the years I heard comparisons of the Ray boys to the Sullivan Brothers. The Sullivan Brothers were five young men also from Iowa. Thankfully, my husband's cousins all came home from the war to lead long full lives. Sadly, this was not the case for the sons of Thomas and Alleta Sullivan.  Imagine hearing the statement, "The Navy Department deeply regrets to inform you that your sons Albert, Francis, George, Joseph and Madison Sullivan are missing in action in the South Pacific." Theirs is a very moving story, and one I hope you will read at or google The Sullivan Brothers. There are many articles written about this tragedy.  From the site their legacy is outlined. In addition to ships, a convention center, a Japanese school, a park, a street, a song, and maybe more named for the Sullivan Brothers, the US War Department adopted the Sole Survivor Policy.


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