My Dad's favorite cousin. Dad was an only child and Earl was like the big brother he never had. Taught Dad how to shoot and to hunt. Dad said he could stand on the front porch and pick individual pecans out of the tree in the front yard with his .22.
For years, all we knew was that he was killed crossing some river.
Thanks to the internet, it wasn't hard to find out where his unit was in March 1945.
Before that, they had a small part in the Battle of the Bulge and before that they were in the Hurtgen Forest.
Never asked for a safe space. Actually fought real Fascists.
His mother opted to have the remains repatriated after the war. She asked the Army if she could open the casket; said she needed to know it was really him. They told her she wouldn't recognize him. She said that somehow she would but they prevailed.
After my brother's death, she told my mother that it will never go away but it will get better.
Dad never celebrated on Memorial Day. Neither do I.