I normally like to write tongue-in-cheek posts.? I do love witty pieces and make my own attempt to follow in kind.? While I hope that this will not be morbid (like the one about my dearly-departed Aussie, Jilly), it will be a reverent remembrance of an uncle I never met, Earl Owen Thresher.
Earl Owen (Eardie) was born on December 27, 1921.? He was my mother’s baby brother, the youngest of five children, and my mother loved him dearly.? He had been engaged to a girl, but they had a fight and broke up in October of 1941.? So, as young men often do, he reacted rashly and joined the Marines to get away from it all.? They made up and got back together, but there’s no going back on an enlistment.? After boot camp on Perris Island, he went into the First Maine Division.? Then December 7, 1941, came around.
You can read a factual account of Earl Owen’s (using first and middle name is a Southern thing) service record by clicking here. ? While he is listed as in the Fifth Marines, he was proud of being in First Marine Division, a part of the Fifth and known as “the Old Breed.”? While they were also called the “Raggedy-Ass Marines,” an officer said that, “the tradition of hard, dirty service started in the First.”? I will not cite the military data from that website, but will tell you what my mother told me.? Earl Owen was not a born soldier.? He wept when he returned for Christmas in 1941, telling how rough it was in the Marines.? This is not a criticism of the Corps, since they were going to fight a tough enemy and had to have tough men, but rather an attempt to convey how difficult a task it is we ask young men (Earl Owen was 19 years old) to do for us.? My mother said he feared he would never see his girlfriend or his family again.? And he did not.? On September 26, 1942, he was killed by enemy machine gun fire while on patrol on Guadalcanal.? His body was never returned to the States.
My mother told me stories of Earl Owen, his wit and his joi de vivre.? She said he always had a smile, a twinkle in his eye.? Once, when he was late for school, she took the blame (and punishment) for him.? It reminds me of how my two older sisters have treated me though the years.? She told me how his girlfriend did not marry or even date for many years after his death.? She told me how much she loved him.? PFC Earl Owen Thresher did not receive a Congressional Medal of Honor, a Silver Star or even a Bronze Star.? He had no Arlington burial.? He was one of many young men who gave their lives for this country and get no recognition.? They fight and die without any press, without any fanfare, without any ticker tape parades.? They just do their duty.? To me, he and his ilk are heroes.? I hope that, on this Memorial Day, he and so many other men who gave their lives for us will not be forgotten.