Just as the 12-year-old girl finished placing a midnight blue velvet bow in her long auburn hair, the doorbell rang. For weeks, she had looked forward to seeing her cousins. With glee, she ran through the house to welcome her visitors. As she flew ’round the corner of the living room, the scent of her mother’s perfume, Chantilly, brought an even bigger smile to her face. This scent reminded her of feeling loved and being safe and secure–the gifts her mother gave her every day. Before opening the door, how could the girl with the pretty blue bow in her hair have known she had already experienced the last time she would hear her mother’s laughter and beautiful singing voice, for many months, if not years, to come?
Opening the door, the young girl wondered, where were her cousins? Instead, two men stood before her dressed impeccably in their United States Marine Corp regalia. They handed the girl a letter while telling her of their sorrow in notifying the family of John P. Rodican that he had been killed in action in the Battle of Peleliu on Palua Island. And then, they turned and left. The young girl watched, most likely in shock, as the soldiers drove away from her home on Harrison Street in Westville, Connecticut.
At the age of 26, my mother’s brother, John P. (Jack) Rodican, Cpl. 1st Marine Division, was killed in action in 1944. He had served 31 months in the Pacific. According to my mother, Eileen Rodican McNally, her mother, Eileen O’Brien Rodican, “was never the same” after the death of her son. Also serving in the United States Marine Corp, my mother heard of the passing of her older brother while on base at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The young girl in this story was my mother’s youngest sister, Kathleen.
Over 1.3 million soldiers have sacrificed their lives for our country since 1861, the start of the Civil War. So, on Memorial Day, as we celebrate the holiday weekend, may we remember and honor the men and women who have bravely and selflessly made freedom possible for our country–the United States of America.
With blessings and peace on Memorial Day,
Rodican Rose Bonn