Giving Thanks to the Servicemen in Our Family
Especially this time of year, my thoughts of how good life is today are at the forefront. Yes, the corrupt politicians, the fallacies of the laws and the lawmakers who don’t follow their own rulings get on the last nerve. Yet today, in my gratitude, is a true appreciation of what soldiers have given up in their best efforts to make life better for others.
Edward Willis Clarno
My first thank you goes to my cousin, Private Edward Willis Clarno who fought in World War II and the Korean War. PFC Clarno was taken prisoner with the 23rd Infantry on Feb. 15, 1951.
For many years PFC Clarno was MIA. His parents didn’t find out what happened to their son until years after his disappearance. A soldier, who served and was captured with their son, sought them out in order to share the fate of their son with them.
The soldier said Clarno had suffered a bad head wound and was given no food or water by his captors because of these wounds. Starving to death, Pvt. Clarno foraged and found something which looked to be an onion. He ate the onion, which poisoned and killed him. It is believed Pvt. Clarno died 15 miles from Pyongyang, Korea. His remains have never been found.
He was the only child of Ruby and Paul Clarno.
Thomas Mayhew Bonner, II
My next thank you is to my ex-father-in-law, Thomas Mayhew Bonner, II, who fought in World War II. He was on the U.S.S. South Dakota; Bonner [tongue in cheek] says it was the ship that won the war. He does have the honor of the Peace Treaty being signed on his ship during his service. Bonner doesn’t talk much about his war days; although, after triple bypass heart surgery a few years ago, my son, Jacob Bonner, said his grandfather started telling war stories, which his family had not heard before. There may not be any more stories from Bonner, as literally a few weeks ago, he died. The doctors and nurses brought him back to life. But, his grandson said the war stories have stopped. The things Bonner shared are priceless, hope they are recorded for posterity and historical value.
Thank you to my cousin, Richard Brockman, who is proud to have served as a Marine. He shared the Marine quotes included below in this article. The ribbon on his uniform is a World War II Victory ribbon for the Marine Corps. His service is something he felt was one of the most important things he did and he lived by his favorite motto, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” Brockman passed on this spring, not too long after he sent the quotes below. His sister, Nancy Brockman said, “Dick was a Marine through and through.”
Thank you to my uncle, Roger Rhodes, who fought in the Vietnam War. He doesn’t talk about his war battles. However, he keeps in touch with the men he served with. They live all over the U.S., yet they faithfully meet and enjoy family vacations together.
Thank you to my brother-in-law, Dan Young, who served in the Vietnam War 1967 through 1970. He, like Bonner, is proud of his service to his country, yet we don’t hear of what he went through during the war, either. He talks of the countryside, the people, and of the gifts he sent home to his family from the exotic other world. Young’s brother, Mike Young also served at the same time.
Dan said, “We had ‘brother duty’ together on the USS Chicago, a guided missile frigate back in 1969 through 1970. We test fired cruise missiles a lot. Even had one fly back at us, right between the ships smoke stacks. We requested brother duty and finally got it after better than a year of requesting it. Got to visit with brother Mike through a couple of Vietnam tours, a trip to Hong Kong and Japan visits. It was great to hang with him in the Hong Kong Hilton at Christmas time, visit and write music together.”
Thank you to my ex-brother-in-law, Douglas Jacques, who also served in Vietnam. His parting gift while in the military was to be sprayed by Agent Orange. Our government denied it for years, but Jacques’ health and that of his platoon didn’t adhere to the denials. Their health to this day is still affected by the gruesome ‘Mikey’ experiment.
Thank you to my husband, Daniel Whitney, who almost died by drowning twice while in the service. He, fortunately, didn’t have to go into battle. Although, they thought and hoped they were going to battle during the Carter administration’s Iranian Hostage Crisis. Whitney said they were itching and begging to go take care of the situation; he also said the tension at Camp Pendleton was mammoth, like the voltage from an electric fence.
Thank you to my nephew, Andrew Young, who just got out of the service. He did two tours of Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He saw battle, he saw death; he does tell of a few stories of his fallen brothers. He is currently going to college and has thought about re-enlisting. Young left to go into service a sheltered young man, when he came home from boot camp not only had his body changed, he had changed inside. He had this quiet, beautiful self-confidence, it emanated from him. He was so proud of his accomplishment of graduating boot camp.
Their Bravery is Inspirational
Tears come to my eyes, thinking of how brave the men and women of the military are. To go into service when there is a war going on, to offer up their sacrifices — heck, just making it through boot camp is huge — my God, thinking of what one does in boot camp scares me. Let alone, facing your mortality the way many in the military do.
The Bonds They Created and Care for are Beautiful and Amazing
Bonner and his wife were lifelong friends with his Navy buddies and their wives. Their families got together at the very least, a minimum of once a year, every year. My aunt and uncle, the Rhodes, recently went to a reunion of Army buddies and their families. Even in this day and age of fast paced and loose relationships, they are brothers who still keep in touch regularly. My nephew texts, talks, and emails with his Marine jar heads and he continues to keep the Thanksgiving tradition alive they started while serving together. Whitney still remembers boot camp and his years in the military as if it were yesterday. He also remembers the name of every jar head Marine he served with. He can’t remember other names of people he’s met, but the names of each person he served with; those men, it seems will never leave the grey matter.
To the Next Generation
My son, Sean Davern, who has just turned 18-years-old and is graduating high school soon has aspired to go into the service since he was 13-years-old. As a mom, it scares me. Although, my dad has shown me comforting statistics that our young men actually have a higher survival rate when they go into the service than they do staying home and going to work or college.
My Gratitude and a Wish
Today, my gratitude goes out to all of the men and women who go to service for our country. They do so because they have higher aspirations and a desire to be bigger than themselves and not of themselves; to lend their talents, their bodies and minds to a higher ethical, moral, and idealistic nature. To make us all better than we were before they went into service.
If there was a genie in a bottle who would grant me a wish, it would be these men and women receive the benefits that our lawmakers receive – the healthcare, the pensions, and the pay. And, that the lawmakers and politicians receive the pay, the pensions, and the healthcare our servicemen and women receive. It is my contention the people who go into the military are more deserving of the benefits received by our Congressmen and women, and our Senators.
My friend, Sandy Murphy, has a sign on her refrigerator which would be wonderful to plaster everywhere, just like all of the handbills pasted all over Manhattan. It says, I Don’t Care what the Reason is, No to the Next War.
And, she has a bumper sticker that says: I’m already against the next war.
Great News this Memorial Day for Families of Missing Soldiers
This Memorial Day brought some peace to a few families around the nation, thankfully. USA Today on May 26, 2013, shared a story, One hero home, 83,000 to go. It told of a man, Lt. Col. Don Carlos Faith Jr., who was blown to bits in Korea and 60 years later his bone fragments were found and identified. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Remains of American WWII soldier reportedly found on Pacific’s Northern Mariana Islands is a story Fox News reported March 26, 2013. The Joint MIA/POW reported finding remains of a man lost 70 years ago in World War II. He has yet to be identified, but they are working on it.
Stars and Stripes ran this story on May 1, 2013, Remains of 4 Vietnam War MIAs to be buried at Arlington. Four sailors, who were reported missing after their plane took fire were found recently, identified and will be buried together. What a great Memorial weekend for their families.
According to THV11 article on May 25, 2017 an Arkansas veteran’s body returned home 65 years after deadly plane crash and another article from the LA Times shares a story of ‘Welcome home, Uncle Ed’: The remains of this Pearl Harbor sailor — and many others — are finally coming home.
Who knows, perhaps one day, Pvt. Clarno will be laid to rest with his parents in the beautiful little cemetery in Parkers Prairie, Minn. What a trip that would be.
Pearl Harbor After Hours, Get the Kleenex Out this is Poignant
Slideshow with Famous Quotes about Marines Contributed and Treasured by Richard Brockman
Letter Written by a Mother of a Marine to My Marine Group
Resources and Sources Used to Find Information on Edward Willis Clarno
Prisoner of War Medal for Edward Willis Clarno, Military Times Hall of Valor
List of Men who Men who Gave Evidence of Edward Willis Clarno’s Death, Korean War POW/MIA Network.
Thank you to the men and to the Korean War POW/MIA Network for their dedication and tireless work.
Other men who disappeared the same day as Pvt Edward Willis Clarno, compiled by Korean War POW/MIA Network
U.S. Accounted-for and Unaccounted-for from the Korean War Sorted by Name, (You can leave a memorial here)
Korean War Project, Dallas, Texas Databases, Everyone in Pvt. Paul Clarno’s 23rd Infantry Division. This is a huge database of all the troops who served in the Korean War. There is information on Agent Orange, message boards of people looking for soldiers, KIA/MIA/POW/WIA Databases, Looking for Units, Finding The Families: The Search for Korean War MIA/POW Family DNA Samples Finding The Families, Postings for Reunions, Remembrance Entries, POW Camps and more, much, much more.
U.S. Fallen Warriors website, Pvt. Edward Willis Clarno’s information found here; this site contains over 130,000 records of U.S. military officers and soldiers who died as a result of either a hostile or non-hostile occurrences in the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, or War on Terrorism. These include the records of persons who were missing in action or prisoners of war in either the Korean War or the Vietnam War.
Other Sources Used for this Story
More Information on the image by Photographer Petty Officer 2nd Class Jennifer L. Jaqua
Contact Information for Service Casualty Offices: U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marines, U.S. Navy
Tagged 23rd Infantry, Contact Information for Service Casualty Offices, Dallas, Fox News, Hall of Valor, Korean War, Korean War POW/MIA Network, Korean War Project, Memorial Day Memories, Military Times, Prisoner of War Medal, Texas Databases, U.S. Accounted-for and Unaccounted-for from the Korean War, U.S. Fallen Warriors website, US Air Force, US Army, US Marines, US Navy, USA Today, Vietnam War, World War II