Written by Eugene
often reflected on the decorated histories of the veterans in our family.
My father fought on the fields of Belgium, France and Luxembourg during
WWII. He was wounded and received the Purple Heart medal for his heroic
actions during the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1945.
to visit a site that describes this historic battle)
Twenty-seven years earlier his father, Joseph J. Jones I, was wounded
in combat while fighting in WWI. He was also awarded the Purple Heart
for being gassed on March 21, 1918 in France.
also lost one of our ancestors on the fields of France during WWIl. Maurice
G. Jones was Grandpa's younger brother. He was also my father's best
friend who served as Best Man during my parents' wedding in 1943. My middle
name was granted in his honor. He was killed in action in August of 1944.
often remember talking with my father about his experiences during the
war. I would travel with him regularly during the summer months on his
sojourns from Valley Stream to the store in Stony Brook. This provided
me with opportunities to speak with him privately and he shared his thoughts
with me openly. I asked questions poignantly in a manner I suppose only
a child could get away with.
of the questions I remember distinctly asking was, " Did you ever kill
someone where you knew it for sure? " He spoke humbly and softly, "Yes
", he said. "I remember once we were in a defensive position in a foxhole.
A German offensive was launched against us and enemy soldiers were approaching
across an open field. I fired at one and the man fell. "That's for Uncle
Marcy," he recalled saying out loud.
is how my father was able to deal with the guilt of taking the life of
another man. I can't imagine what it must have been like for him. I salute
him and all the members of our family that have served in our Armed Forces.
I never really thought about the fact that this fighting spirit dates
back to the Civil War era when my Great-Great Grandfather served in the
US Navy. Perhaps this esprit de corps is the precursor to our battles
on the football field during our annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowl.
Written by John
On St. Patrick's Day
pop (Joe Sr.) would take me with him to the parade.
He marched with the 69th veterans of WWI and I would march with "Sons
of the Rainbow" directly behind them. We would leave early in the morning
and go to the 165th NYNG armory. I believe it was on Park Avenue near
23rd Street. We would all assemble in the morning (I don't know if it
was 9 or 10 AM) and march up 5th Avenue to St. Patrick's Cathedral for
Mass. Then we would march back to the armory for an early lunch and then
lead off the parade. Right behind us was the regiment band and they would
play Irish tunes, but the major one was "Garryowen."
As soon as the parade was over pop would grab me and we would take the
subway home, where he would sit in an easy chair and soak his feet in
a basin of hot water with some sort of medication in it. I don't think
he missed a parade until the year before he passed away.
Jr. at his Uncle Marcy's Grave
-- France, June 3rd, 1945 --
still has all the letters Joe sent her while serving overseas. In
a letter dated June 3, 1945 he describes the above visit to his Uncle
"On our way back we stopped at St. James cemetery. I already
had the plate and grave number so it was easy to find. I'm not going
to write much because . . . well, you know how I must have felt there.
I was able to compose myself to take some pictures and leave the Sacred
Heart medal that my father gave to me before I came overseas there
on his grave. Well, I'd better stop there because there is a lump
in my throat again."
after Joe Jr knelt before his Uncle Marcy's grave in France, Brennan
places a flag at the gravestone of his great-grandfather, Joe Jr.