A Memorial Day Letter to My Dad

Dad and TomDearest Dad:

I read the brief story of your WWII experiences in the U.S. Navy (see below).

What were you feeling and thinking as your ship, the USS Mallory was torpedoed and sunk in the North Atlantic that frigid day, February 7, 1943?  You survived that day, yet hundreds of your crew mates did not.  You rarely spoke of it, as that was your way – leaving memories and experiences to remain quietly in your heart.*

Still, I am filled with questions, ponderings and awe.  I wonder:  What was your heart and soul saying to you that day?

As the ship was sinking and you were struggling to survive, I know your thoughts (when you at last could ‘think’) were of Mom and your only son (at the time), Tom.  Love was your motive.

You lived the rest of your life with an intense, yet quiet way of doing your part to make the world a better place – every day.  Your career choice as a fireman explains it all.

You and millions of service men and women like you, no matter the situation were/are motivated by these driving forces:  Your Love of family and your desire/commitment to make the world a better place.  This is the gift given by you and all who serve(d).

Love and the desire/commitment to make the world a better place. What greater legacy could there be?

Thank you for your Love.  Thank you for showing me how to choose Love.

With honoring and thanks, Joan

*I’ve read many excerpts from families whose dads were also on the USS Mallory and most say the same thing:  ‘Dad never shared much of that night’.


My Military Experience – by Edward L. Ramsay

“Just a word about my military service. Nobody wants to hear war stories – I would just like to mention a few things that impressed me: The Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Pier 92 New York, the one Walter Winchell called ‘the concentration camp’ of the Navy. I stood watch on the Normandy as it laid on its side at Pier 92. As most of you know, the USS Mallory (the ship I was on) was sunk in the North Atlantic February 7, 1943. Incidentally, sometime later Elling (my brother, a Lutheran minister chaplain) was asked to dedicate a picture of the Chaplains that were aboard that fatal ship, the Mallory, not realizing at the time that it was the very same ship I (his brother) was on. We have a picture still up in our basement of Elling at this presentation.

Places in the Atlantic I was at during the war – Londonderry- England, Liverpool-England, Murmansk-Russia. Just a bit about the coast of Norway where the German Pocket battleship, the Von Tirpitz and a cruiser Scharnhorst were tied up in Trondheim, Norway: Watching these ships so they wouldn’t come down and mow the convoys heading for Russia were the English battleships Duke of York, Duke of Kent, our battleships – the North Dakota, Alabama, three destroyers and air craft carrier USS Ranger.

Then, heading for the Pacific, the very impressive Panama Canal, Pearl Harbor and the invasions of the Marshall Islands. Those were the highlightsDad of my Navy career.

Thanks to the Good Lord above for saving me from that North Atlantic, South Atlantic and Pacific, U boats, enemy ships and aircraft.”



Honoring all who Love – Joan Kappes


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