OPEN THREAD: Some Truly Unsung Heroes to Remember on Memorial Day
I have to admit, at first I was touched, and then completely taken in, by an email forwarded to me earlier this Memorial Day weekend that began as follows:
Something you should know, if you already didn’t…..........
WHY DID MR. ROGERS ALWAYS WEAR A SWEATER?
The message went on to relate how both Lee Marvin and the man we know as Captain Kangaroo fought together on Iwo Jima, where they both received the Navy Cross for their bravery. For a final dollop of sentiment, the message answered the question I have bolded above, by explaining that the quiet, pacifist Mr. Rogers had actually served during the Vietnam War on a lethal squad as a Navy Seal, and always wore his trademark sweater to cover up the tattoos that festooned his arms.
Trouble is, a simple check on Snopes.com (always advisable in checking out facts received over the Internet) showed that none of those facts was true.
Mr. Rogers never served in our armed forces; Capt. Kangaroo, who turned 18 only in 1945, enlisted too late to see any military action (just before we dropped the atomic bombs), and was never at Iwo Jima; and Lee Marvin, who did see action with the Marines, was wounded at Saipan, not Iwo Jima—for which he received the Purple Heart, not the Navy Cross.
There are plenty of real unsung heroes out there to remember this Memorial Day—there is no need to invent any new ones. Start with this fascinating account of an American shot down over France and the extraordinary efforts of the French resistance movement to rescue soldiers like him before the Germans could discover them.
Or read about the black squadron of Tuskegee fighter pilots, whose exploits during World War II are little known or remembered today.
Or check out the “Unsung Heroes” feature of the Martinsville, W. Virginia Journal, where many more stories are collected.
The point is to remember—and to realize how easy it is to forget them, and to take the bravery of all these unsung heroes for granted.
Feel free to add your own links or stories in the Comments.
A blessed Memorial Day to you and yours!
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