It was indeed an awesome sight to see that sea of flags blowing briskly in the stiff wind at the Veterans Cemetery on Civic Center Drive over the Memorial Day weekend. I was on my annual trek to the gravesite of my ol’ buddy, classmate and fellow letter carrier: Ben Kelly (Rupper Pa Pum).

I’m always awestruck by two markers in row P-25, the same row in which Ben is buried. The two men buried there, Roger Gagne and Wayne Nelson, both survived the Bataan Death March in the Philippines during World War II. I knew them both, they both told me their experiences of the hellish 60-mile march at the hands of the Japanese.

Soon all World War II veterans will be gone. Who will carry on with their stories?

John McAuley


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