The other day I made two happy discoveries related to my great-great uncle Israel Goldberg. As Memorial Day approaches, his death at Camp Cabanatuan in 1942 has been much on my mind. This afternoon at a monthly WW2 veteran's luncheon, I spoke with a veteran who was stationed at Clark Airfield in the Philippines right before Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I told him that my uncle Israel was stationed at Clark at the same time. Though with a different group, my friend was quite familiar with my uncle's squadron group and could tell me about a bit of what they went through before the Philippines fell into the hands of the Japanese.
The same day, and shortly after, I spoke with another veteran who said that while he was stationed in the Philippines in 1945 he was called up for a very special duty. For an entire day he participated in the honor guard's final salute for every single man buried at the American War Cemetery in Manila. My uncle's remains would not be transferred to Manila until sometime in 1947, but I felt a bit like this final salute would have included him as well.
I have known both these veterans for a while, but had never yet made the connection to my family in this sense. Especially with the first one, it is probably one of the closest linkages I've been able to make to my uncle before the Bataan Death March. How appropriate to make this connection in honor of my uncle just in time for Memorial Day.