Memorial Day is May 25 — a day set aside to remember those who gave their lives for all of us in previous wars.
This letter is a plea to each of you who read this letter to write a letter to the editor of your newspaper in remembrance of a veteran who died in battle. Give the name of the veteran and, if known, the date and place of his death and any additional information about his home community. Thank the deceased veteran and his family for his sacrifice on behalf of all of us, and to our state and nation. It is not necessary that you personally know the veteran — just that you are thankful for his service and that you want the world to be reminded of his sacrifice for all of us.
And now, let me tell the world on behalf of my family and myself how thankful I am for the freedom we all enjoy for the ultimate sacrifice of six of my friends whom I personally knew, who lived in north Baton Rouge and who died in battles on foreign lands long ago.
Jack “Jr.” Sanchez died on June 15, 1944, in the first wave of Marines who rushed ashore on the Island of Saipan in the south Pacific during World War II and is buried in Roselawn Cemetery. He lived on Baton Rouge Avenue and went to Hollywood and Istrouma schools. Manuel L. Efferson was a crew member of the submarine USS Kete and died on March 27, 1945, when his submarine was sunk. He attended Monte Sano School. Gary Littlefield, U.S. Army, died on Nov. 30, 1950, while a prisoner of war in Korea. He was raised in north Baton Rouge and attended Hollywood Elementary School and is buried in the National Cemetery on North 19th Street. Marion E. “M.E.” Thornhill, a marine, died on July 7, 1952, in North Korea in the midst of a vicious battle against the communists on Hill 159. He lived on Kelvin Street and went to Hollywood Elementary School; he is buried in Rosalawn Cemetery. Willie “Bill” Nall died on Aug. 3, 1950, during hostile fighting with the enemy at the Pusan Perimeter. He attended north Baton Rouge schools and is buried in the Pride Ward Cemetery in Pride. Alton Waldrop, U.S. Navy, died March 3, 1952, near the small island of Tae-yonp-yong-do in the Yellow Sea. His body was never recovered. He was raised in north Baton Rouge and went to Baker High School.
Please write your letter of thanks to the editor today in remembrance of a veteran who died in battle while fighting for you and me.
Robert L. Raborn
Korean War veteran