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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

V-J Day: For Uncle Mel

By Susan Gulliford of Hillsborough NJ Journal

Today is the 65th Anniversary of V-J Day, Victory over Japan Day; the date used in America to memorialize the end of World War II. So I want to tell you the little that I know about my Uncle Mel.

He was only 10 years old when my paternal grandparents immigrated to America with their eleven children, ten of them boys.

In his 20s, Uncle Mel ended up in the United States Army, possibly the only one of "the boys" who served in World War II in the battles in Europe. Some of them were too young, at least one may have served elsewhere, and most of the older boys held jobs that were considered necessary to the war effort, coal miners or, I think, some type of railroad work.

According to my father, Uncle Mel was an Army medic.

After his return to the United States, Uncle Mel confided to my father some of the horrible things he had seen in Europe, but my father never broke that confidence. Unfortunately none of us will ever know those stories...or, maybe, fortunately.

Uncle Mel moved "out West" to Ohio before I was even born, becoming a butcher. His brothers kidded him about having been a medic and then becoming a butcher. That's what brothers do. That and hold your confidences, your worst memories, close.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


What a good way to remember your uncle. I didn't even know today was V-J day. My godfather served on the eastern front in WWII, and would never tell what he saw. I admire that generation's reticence these days, but I wish it had been a little less absolute.

V-J Day was August 14, 1945. This piece was originally written and posted on that date.

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