Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | May 27, 2012

A Personal Memorial Day Memory–from WWII

This is the first of two remembrances for Memorial Day 2012. My first memory of loss from war.

I’ve been working (on and off) on a memoir about growing up in a small Southern town, I have been pulled back in time by some of my earliest memories.  WWII was not an abstraction to me. I have pictures of a little redheaded boy (me) with my beloved Aunt Dorothy in her WAAC uniform. She passed away at 94 in late 2010.

I have a wonderful picture of me with three of my favorite cousins: Lewis Clark, Bill (Tubby) Clark and Max Rowe. They are all in uniform. Max was a handsome Marine with a devilish grin.

I remember the day a steam locomotive stopped especially to bring Max home. He was killed during the invasion of Okinawa, in 1945. When the train left our town, the engineer gave a particularly long, mournful whistle.

After considerable Internet research, it appears that Max was the only fatality in the tiny town of Falkville, Alabama. In some places, he is mistakenly listed as Max Rown.  One of my cousins, Corky Morris, saw the  mistake on a monument to WWII losses, in Anniston, four or five years ago and asked someone in Montgomery to get it corrected.  I trust it was done.

I remember the chimes in the Falkville Methodist church playing God Will Take Care of You.  I was sitting on my Grandmother’s front porch between my Mother and Grandmother. Through a flood of tears they told me that Max’s body was being moved from the railroad depot to the church.

I didn’t get to go to the funeral, everyone thought I was too young. All of my relatives said that it seemed the whole town attended.

A single American warrior lost was more than enough.


  1. It’s a day to remember … A day to be thankful. Thanks for the great post

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