Sunday, May 24, 2009

William Robert Caddy




William Robert Caddy

I grew up on Caddy Road in the Lower Mills section of Dorchester (a neighborhood of Boston.) Caddy Road is a small side street off of a side street off of yet another side street.

One year, as a child, I noticed that our street signs were decorated with small American flags as Memorial Day approached. Until that time, I had never given much thought to the name of our street. It was just a street. When I saw the flags, I knew that our street was also a memorial.

I found out, perhaps by doing some research at a library (this was waaaaaaay before The Internet), that our street was named after William Robert Caddy, a war hero. That's all I found out. I didn't know what war, or what he may have done in that war. Nevertheless, I was proud to live on a street that was named after a hero.

A little later on in life, perhaps in my teens, I was in the neighborhood of Wollaston Beach. I found myself in a little park by the beach and I noticed a marker. It read "Caddy Memorial Park".



Yes, it was named after the same fellow. Obviously, he was an exceptional hero. You don't get the Congressional Medal without having displayed great bravery and valor. However, aside from the fact of his death, there was no further information.

Then computers arrived, Google was born, and searching for things - and people - became much easier. I finally found out the story behind the man for whom my street had been named.

Birth: Aug. 8, 1925
Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death: Mar. 3, 1945, Japan

World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.

Served with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 28th Marines.


On March 3, 1945, in action against the Japanese on Iwo Jima, Caddy, his platoon leader, and his acting platoon sergeant, were advancing against enemy machine gun fire in an isolated sector. Seeking cover from the murderous fire, the three Marines dropped into a shell hole. After several unsuccessful attempts to advance, he and his lieutenant engaged in a hand grenade battle with the defending Japanese. When an enemy missile landed in their hole, he covered it with his body and absorbed the full impact.

The Medal of Honor was presented posthumously to his mother on September 8, 1946.


(From the "Find A Grave" website - http://www.findagrave.com - I also got the photos from there.)

William Robert Caddy is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii. He had not yet reached his 20th birthday.



I never met the man, of course, but I lived on his street for 37 years. He is the one I remember every Memorial Day.

Perhaps you have an actual relative or friend who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. In any case, this Monday, while you enjoy a burger or a hot dog, and perhaps a few cool drinks, would you please take a moment or two to remember a man or woman who made such enjoyments possible for us all?

Thank you.


36 comments:

Sujatha said...

Yesterday morning I was at the Arlington National Cemetery. This time of the year, living in the the DC area is particularly special. As I walked past the miles of gravestones I wished I knew the stories behind at least some of them. So it was wonderful to read your post today.

P.S. Thanks for pointing to The Magazine Man. Great to discover a really good blog.

Gaston Studio said...

Found you via Authorblog and loved your interview answers, so have joined your crowd.

Love this post and thanks for the link to grave finders,what a great idea!

Will be back for more.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Write ON, Suldawg!

Chris Stone said...

Great story, thanks for sharing it.

Expat From Hell said...

Terrific post, just what I needed to read this morning. It brought to mind my own William Robert Caddy. Such impressions they leave with us. Indelible. They live on because of you. Thanks for doing this.

ExpatFromHell

Jewels said...

Now that is the ultimate sacrifice. How incredibly selfless.

Michelle H. said...

Great post, as always!

Thumbelina said...

Hey there buddy! Just caught a glimpse of your mug shot at authorblog's! I'll be back to read later but I just got in after a weekend away so I'll catch up soon k?

Congrats. Bout time.

Karen said...

So young.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Magnificent Memorial Day Post, Jim! You brought tears to my eyes...We do have so much to thank our heroes for!!!! ~Janine

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Yes it is important to remember, and I remind my children of that often too.

Granny on the Web said...

Isn't it just wonderful what information you can now get from Googling. I am so glad you managed to get the background story on W R Caddy. How young he was when he died too.
My uncle Robert Ward died aged 17 in the first world war, he lied about his age to get in the army. He was killed on his first encounter with the Germans. Too young, and yet full of enthusiasm. My own father was exempt from fighting as he had a finger missing after an accident in a tool factory. I am so proud though, of my Uncle Robert. I salute his and all the other's memory.
Love Granny

Theresa said...

Nice blog. I'm more in tune with Memorial Day this year since it's the first year that both my sons are serving. Thanks for recognizing our men and women in the military.

Lola said...

Thank you for reminding us with your touching post, to honor our heroes, big and small. I'm half Italian, half American, so my personal Memorial Day goes both ways across the Atlantic.

Tomorrow my glass will be raised to William R. Caddy.

Ciao

SweetPeaSurry said...

I'll be heading to my grandfather and grandmother's gravesite. My grandfather fought in the Navy. My grandmother and I have been making the Memorial Day journey for 3 years now, unfortunately this year they'll both only be there in spirit.

God bless our soldiers!

Chris @ Maugeritaville said...

I'm still blown away by the fact that you took the time to research the guy. That is truly amazing, and I'm sure the Caddy family would be truly honored.

Nice work, Sully. And happy Memorial Day to you and YOUR WIFE.

bluntdelivery said...

hey thats a pretty awesome story.

i grew up on a dead end on cemetery road. i ain't got crap for cool stories.

Ananda girl said...

This is beautiful Suldog. I am touched and I will most certainly share this with my family tomorrow and we will all give Mr. Caddy our thoughts and our thanks along with the others we'll be remembering. Thank you, sir.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Hi Jim
The ripples of your powerful post are felt on the other side of the pond. A great tribute for a great man. Here we have Remembrance Sunday in November when we remember our war dead.
Just in case you did not see my last comment - I enjoyed your Roasting very much ~ Eddie

Woman in a Window said...

Wow, that's a helluva story, was a helluva man. Nice Suldog. Nice.

Ragtop Day said...

Thanks for sharing this - you have given William Caddy, and all of us, the ultimate reminder of what Memorial Day was created for - you shared his story so we can remember his service, and his sacrifice.

I'm proud to share that when I asked my young daughters why they thought we celebrated Memorial Day, they both said it was to honor the people who died defending our country. I will share William Caddy's story with them. It is important to relate a concept to an actual person.

Thank you.

Pouty Lips said...

I believe I'll be remembering his name from now on.

Sandy Kessler said...

To fathom this type of heroism is almost incomprehensible and humbling.Yet they did it m illions.Look how it affected just your solitary life.And I can tell you are thankful.sandy

Anonymous said...

What a way to remember Memorial Day. Our country is the best on the planet and soldiers like Mr. Caddy helped make it that way. Thanks for sharing.
Coach O (FOA)

lime said...

wow, that gave me chills. he truly gave the last full measure of devotion. thank you for sharing his story with us.

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Oh absolutely, Suldog! Both parents came from a military family and have current family members serving! A fascinating read!

p.s. Wanted to thank you for your hilarious comments on "Socko".
I can now relate to your comment that being a Yankee fan, the Red Sox might be Barbara's subconscience. LOL Thank you! ;)
They always make for exciting baseball! :))

Carolina said...

A wonderful post. A remarkable and very brave (or stupid) man.
If only we would have learned from the past....

(I've tried to listen to the Focus concert, but the internet connection keeps breaking up, aarrrggghhh, I'll keep trying though. I'm not too familiar with Focus by the way, I know that Thijs van Leer and perhaps Jan Akkerman(?) were members. Hubs however really liked them. It's the age gap ;-))

Jeni said...

Not an unusual post from you -as you always manage to find something and put just the right words to do a great story.
Through a link I found (don't have it bookmarked either) via the Vietnam Wall though, I found some posts from soldiers who had served with a young man from our village who was killed in Vietnam. He was a medic and was killed tending to his buddies from his platoon. I'd never known before how he died -just knew that he'd lost his life there -but reading the posts from friends of his at that time made for some beautiful tributes to this young man. I think he was only about 19 or 20 when he died -much, much too soon, obviously.

Shammickite said...

In Canada, we do not celebrate Memorial Day, instead, we remember our fallen soldiers on November 11, Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day. I always think about my mother's cousin who was killed just before WW1 ended. His parents only son. Only 21 years old. 4 years ago my sons and I visited his grave in France. Even though I nver met him, I cried.

Mushy said...

Great story for the weekend.

Hilary said...

That's so wonderful of you to research this young hero and bring his memory to life this way. You have such a good heart.

Buck said...

Excellent post, Jim. Thank you.

(And you posted on Sunday? How did you do that? Scheduled?)

Suldog said...

Yes, I finally discovered how to schedule a post. Took me long enough.

Janet said...

A lovely tribute to a remarkable young man. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

William Caddy was actually the man who saved my grandfather's life on Iwo Jima and the Man in which my father is named after. My grandfather has written several poems about William Caddy and speaks of him at every opportunity when asked of his service to our country. I'm proud of the service my grandfather Sgt. Major Ott Farris gave to our country for over 33 years but all the more thankful for William Caddy's unselfish sacrifice that I might know this incredible man I call grandad.
Sincerely,
David Farris

Suldog said...

David - Thank you so very much for your comment! It was wonderful to hear about some of the actual valiance and heroism of this man. God bless!