Anticipating Memorial Day


   My Uncle died near St. Lo in France on July 30, 1944. He was only 24 years old and won the Distinguished Service Medal for gallantry. He volunteered for a virtual suicide mission, apparently pointing out that the other men were married. Below is a newspaper article from almost four years later. My mother was the “Norma” mentioned in the article. I later visited St. Lo and met with amazing people. One elderly woman who had lived through the battle, finally escaping with her baby out of her flattened house through a coal chute in the basement, kept thanking me. I urged her not to do so, explaining that I was a spoiled young man who had never seen combat (and didn’t want to). She said “I cannot thank your uncle, so I thank you.”
Newspaper article:
T. Recie Russ
The Arcadian – 12 Feb 1948
   Full Military rites were held last Sunday for Tomlinson Recie Russ, 24, of Myakka City, an Army sergeant who was killed in action at St. Lo, France, on July 30, 1944. 
   The body had been shipped back from the European Theater of Operations under government supervision and was sent here accompanied by Sergeant Shelly Shilling of Atlanta, Ga. 
   The services were held in the Church of God with Rev. J. J. Self officiating. Burial was in Joshua Creek Cemetery with the American Legion in charge. Robarts Funeral Home had charge of the arrangements. 
   Sgt. Russ was born in Brownville, June 8, 1924, and had resided in Myakka City for the last several years. Surviving are: his mother, Mrs. Florence Williams; three sisters, Mrs. M. L. Putnal, of Myakka City, Mrs. George Jardine, of Glouscester, Mass., Mrs. Betty Galloway of Bonita Springs; one half brother, B. F. Snow, of Sarasota; two half sisters, Norma and Ovida Williams. 
   Memebers of the American Legion acted as pallbearers. The honorary pallbearers included Aiden Albritton, Buck Albritton, Phillip McLeod, Chesley McLeod, Eddie Durrance, Earl Ness.

Both my uncle and my mother are gone now and there isn’t much I can do, except to make it clear that, like so many this weekend, I remember.

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