The Supreme Sacrifice

Memorial Day rolls around again. Many of us will make a trek to a cemetery to place flowers on the headstones of relatives and friends long departed. Somehow it all seems remote and distant — those long gone saints and heroes. But the past came back with haunting echoes recently as I researched Marquette newspapers from the World War II era. Every single issue had multiple photos of local servicemen and women serving their country. Now Marquette is a fairly small community and I counted almost 200 young men and women from this postage-stamp sized community serving during World War II!  Remarkable! There were news items of service personnel postings and honors, but there were also the obituaries — “died in Belgium”, “missing in action, presumed dead”, “killed in action in the Pacific”.  And for some families, it took years to find closure on their McPherson county sons who went to war, but never came back. Lt. Arthur Loder of Marquette was reported missing in action in August, 1944.  His obituary was published 4 months later when his family learned that he died on his 36th mission with the 15th Air Force squadron on a bombing run over Romania. At last, I stumbled onto his funeral service announcement in a 1948 newspaper, when his body was finally returned to Marquette for burial – 3 full years after the end of the war. SKMBT_C35314052014130And  there were plenty of other  truly amazing stories of McPherson’s greatest generation. One McPherson couple, Mr & Mrs. William Quillen, were honored for having 5 sons all serving in the US Navy at the same time! McPherson County can be both proud and humbled by our local servicemen who served and especially those who made the supreme sacrifice. This Memorial Day, I salute them!