Honoring a Family Hero on Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day, I am re-publishing this post I wrote about my mom’s cousin, who ferried soldiers to the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

I always knew him simply as Cousin Del, even though he was actually my mom’s cousin, not mine. He never married and took care of his mother until her death. After my family moved to Minnesota (in the 1970’s) he would turn up at various family functions. He was a pleasant (but quiet) man, with a witty sense of humor.

After his mother died, he stopped coming to family events and became a bit of a recluse. At first he would take phone calls from his cousins, but in recent years had even stopped doing that. Dropping by his home to say hi was definitely not appreciated. The cousins would occassionally drive by his house to see if the lights were on and the lawn mowed, 2 things that would indicate he was OK.

Cousin Del passed away last fall, and the few remaining relatives and friends gathered at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery last month for an interment ceremony.

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In the last visit my mom, her sister, and a cousin had with him he told them (for the first time ever) that he had been captain of a landing craft on D-Day. All day long he transported soldiers from the ships to the beaches, back and forth, knowing that many of them were disembarking to their deaths, and knowing that he could be shot as well. This would have been his view.

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The recluse cousin, it turns out, was a hero.

Thank you, Cousin Del.

Thanks to all who have served (and are serving).

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5 thoughts on “Honoring a Family Hero on Memorial Day

  1. Good morning, this is what I wrote on my facebook page this morning. I am a great supporter of the military. I thought you may be interest.

    Remember this is what Memorial Day is all about. Greater love has no man than this to lay down one’s life for a friend. John 15:13. Unfortunately to many people do not realize this in this country. It makes me sad to see people trampling our flag, protesting against our military and anyone in authority. My family has given much to this country. I am proud to say that I am a military Mom. All of my sons and a son-in-law, my dad, all four of my uncles on my Mom’s side, one of them was a prisoner of war in Germany, served during WWII. Several on my mom’s cousins were in the WWII. and I recall, as a little girl hearing them talk to each other about the war. I currently have my grandson James Moreland and son Dan Taylor still serving. I am not bragging or trying to feel sorry for myself. I am just stating the facts of my family and why today, Memorial Day, leaves me feeling a little bit sad and grateful as I remember.

    Melinda K. Taylor

  2. thanks, jo. i don’t know anything about cousin del’s life other than he was a relative i heard mentioned several times over the years. it is nice to know he was a hero, and i am sorry he “went away” in his last years. i would love to know just how he is related to the family.

    we are off to do our own honoring in our area cemetery. love and blessings to you all. lou