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Archive for July 4th, 2009

 

Chaplain Frank Arnold about a decade after the war with son Frankie, daughter Jean and wife Florence.

Chaplain Frank Arnold about a decade after the war with son Frankie, daughter Jean and wife Florence.

We laid my Uncle Frank to rest 44 years ago. But he was alive in my living room this weekend, speaking from the pages of a diary he wrote as an Army chaplain during World War II.

Frank Mitchell Arnold II was a hero in my family: idolized by my mother, his younger sister by 12 years, and admired by my father, who followed him into the Air Force as a chaplain. Chaplains aren’t normally viewed as war heroes, but Uncle Frank was a war hero in my family. He was awarded a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars (one of them with “V” for valor) and a Purple Heart. I didn’t know much more than that the medals had something to do with tending to casualties under enemy fire and that he had been in the Battle of the Bulge and had been appalled at Gen. George S. Patton’s profanity.

I was just 10 years old when Uncle Frank died, just weeks before Dad was to be transferred into his command in the Pacific, stationed at Wakkanai, Japan. We would have visited Uncle Frank in Hawaii on the way to Japan. But he died of a heart attack on a trip to Thailand. His was the first funeral I remember attending. (more…)

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