Uncle Jimmy was the only Uncle I never met…most of my cousins on my mom’s side never met him either. We all KNEW Uncle Jimmy, we all heard stories, we all saw the few pictures there were of him. Most of us remember the small memorial that Grandma Cline had in her living room with a picture of Uncle Jimmy, and if I recall correctly, the purple heart they gave Grandma (although the purple heart might have been in a drawer nearby). We can probably remember reading the letter from the government about his service, about his death...and how grateful they were for his service, and his ultimate sacrifice.
On this Memorial Day, we pause from our adventures in Alaska, and we remember the members of the military who gave their lives in the defense of their Country, I honor the uncle I never had a chance to meet, James Woodrow Cline. This is a edited posting of one I did a few years ago…
Jimmy was born in 1920, the fifth of eleven children, Jimmy was 21 years old when Pearl Harbor took place. His brother Harold was at Pearl Harbor that day, and we are so thankful that he was able to go back to Hawaii and be honored shortly before he passed away. Jimmy was not as lucky as his brothers who all survived the war. Jimmy died on May 11th, 1945, aboard the USS Bunker Hill, an Essex Class Aircraft Carrier which was hit by two Kamikaze Pilots on that day, taking the lives of 346 Sailors, including my Uncle Jimmy.
I have vivid memories of visiting my mother’s mother, Grandma Cline, as a child. She lived in San Jose, when San Jose was just a small city…long time before Silicon Valley was even thought of. She had a picture of Uncle Jimmy in her living room, and I saw the purple heart, the letter from the United States Government, and I felt the loss that took place so many years earlier. A family might “get over it”, but they never forget. And as this great generation dies off, it is up to us to never forget either.
I have been to Washington DC many times in my life, and as soon as the WW2 Memorial opened, I visited it on my next visit. It is a wonderful memorial, and includes a registry of each and every member of the military who died in the war. Jimmy is in the registry twice.
My Uncle is one of so many who gave his life for this nation, for us who live here. I only hope that this sacrifice is never forgotten, and always remembered from generation to generation. God Bless this wonderful country, may his mercy continue to be with us, may our leaders NEVER forget, and NEVER EVER let these fine men and women who gave this ultimate sacrifice down.