Friday, May 28, 2010

William Robert Caddy



[A repeat from last year, but this sort of thing deserves repeating.]



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.


35 comments:

lime said...

i love that you took the time to research who this man was and that you choose to honor his memory every memorial day. may he rest in peace.

Everyday Goddess said...

that's a beautiful tribute! we have so much to be thankful for, and the loss of those so young is unpardonable, in my opinion. when we stop asking youth to correct the ills brought on by myopic age, then we will have a much better world.

Daryl said...

Its fleet week here and so far every uniformed man or woman I have crossed paths with I have thanked for their service ...

Michelle H. said...

I agree with Lime. It was wonderful for you to take the time to find out about Caddy. Not many people would have done such a thing or written such a tribute to a man whom they never met or known their family.

Expat From Hell said...

This was terrific when I read it last year, and really has staying power, SD. Kind of like you, my friend. EFH

Cricket said...

Great post and well worth the repeat - those little signs are everywhere, at least around here. It's too easy to forget they each represent a real person, a real story. Thanks again for bringing yours back to life, in a way.

Cricket said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig said...

Thanks for this, Jim. What a true hero. I'm always a little in awe when I hear of these throwing-yourself-on-a-grenade stories. Greater love hath no man. . .

And I'm a little in awe that it even occurred to you to research the question of how your street got its name. Now you've got me wondering about the various and sundry streets I've lived on. . .

Hey, summer break is nearly upon us; maybe I'll have my kids look it up. . .

Quirkyloon said...

"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."


Yes I will. And you're welcome. *smile*

Carolina said...

A tragic story. Wonderful idea to pay a tribute to him and to do that every year. It's tragic that dramatic events like this still happen every day. I thought we were supposed to learn something from history.

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

That's awesome of you to have done the research. I remember this one from last year, but it's good to be reminded of the sacrifices others have made in the name of our freedom.

Nineteen years old. Tragic.

slommler said...

What a beautiful tribute. What an heroic act!!!
My father, rest his soul, served with the Navy and went to Iwo Jima. His ship was blown up and he ended up in the water!
He said Iwo Jima was hell on earth.
Just missing him today.
Hugs
SueAnn

IT said...

My Uncle's only war stories were about the stuff folks can laugh about... unless you count the one about realizing that on a ship there's nowhere to run when there's a kamikaze coming at you.
My cousin doesn't tell any war stories.
I don't have any war stories.

Uncle Skip, said...

I don't suppose that this is the appropriate time to mention that there's also a car named for him.

Buck said...

...would you please take a moment or two to remember a man or woman who made such enjoyments possible for us all?

We always do. EVERY year. I'm blessed because my Ol' Man made it back after the Big One, after 20-some odd missions over Der Vaterland in B-17s, but he had MANY friends who didn't come back with him. While Dad didn't "give all," he's the guy I remember most on Memorial Day. And his friends.

Uncle Skip, said...

I apologize because I do take Memorial day seriously. I am even pleased that it is on the date it was originally intended.
I may have mentioned somewhere that the only things I know about my father are what others have told me. He didn't make it back from the CBI theater. Now he's buried at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.
Thanks for the re-post Jim.

TechnoBabe said...

Yes I will remember the people I have known who died in service to our country and I appreciate the way you researched the man honored that you did not know but that you admire.

saz said...

yes well worth remembering and honouring...

saz x

Everyday Goddess said...

just back to say i gave you one of my weekly awards for this post. come by to pick it up when you can!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a great way to remember, Jim...so glad that you investigated his life and service. He and others like him should never be forgotten! Wonderful post! Have a happy Memorial Day, Jim! Hugs, Janine

Angela Christensen said...

This is beautifully done, Suldog. We always have Rodney's dad to think about at this time of year, as he served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. And as I've written in my blog, our son Mac is serving now, completing his training for submarine duty in the U.S. Navy. But as close as the wind of William Caddy blows to our family, it is hard to imagine making the ultimate sacrifice, as this man did, in the larger service of his country and the immediate service of his comrades. Thank you.

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Sandra said...

A wonderful, personal reminder of those who sacrificed for us. Thank you.

Anali said...

What a great post and wonderful tribute for Memorial Day. And I had never heard of that webiste to find a grave. That might help me with my family research. Thanks!

PattiKen said...

I'm here at Everyday Goddess' recommendation. I'm so glad I came. Your tribute to Caddy is lovely. I am moved by the ongoing determination you had to learn his story. If souls can see, I know he is grateful to be remembered here and in your thoughts every Memorial Day.

i beati said...

an ephiphny i love it sandy

CatLadyLarew said...

There are so many forgotten heroes out there. Thanks for bringing this one back to life for us.

Karen said...

We send our babies to war. I hate that.

TechnoBabe said...

Suldog, I hope you read the Sunday Roast today at Eddie Bluelights blog Clouds and Silvery Linings, your name is mentioned in it.

Michael Guzzo said...

Great post to make Memorial Day more identifiable and honor those who gave their lives in defense of our freedoms.

Hilary said...

Such a lovely tribute for a man who you took the time to learn about. You've such a caring heart.

Ruth and Glen said...

This was a beautiful tribute Jim.

As we all enjoy our Memorial Day, in whatever way we choose to celebrate our freedom, we too hope that the magnitude of the sacrifices of all the men and women in uniform, past and present, is realized, talked about, and given the thanks and appreciation that it truly deserves.

Jeni said...

A re-run or not, it's still a great post.

Dennis said...

So glad you took the time to research this fine young man. I live in Colorado, but my work as a private jet pilot has me in Honolulu this week. I decided to visit the National Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) today. I was wandering the grounds reading headstones and trying to reconstruct in my mind the what the stories behind the granite might look like in those terrible times. I picked two headstones to research. (there are thousands) Both were recipients of special honors. One was William Robert Caddy, the others was Walter John Burak. Your remembrances of Private Caddy have memorialized his brave work and I was very thankful that the communities where he lived are keeping his name alive. Corporal 1st Class Burak, however, is less well remembered. He is the recipient of the Navy Cross for exceptional bravery in the face of enemy fire on September 14th, 1942, an action that he survived. However, less than a month later, on October 8th, he died at Guadalcanal in an action that is not documented.
I'm so glad Pvt Caddy's story is told and I'm sure he would share the honors with the hundreds of "UNKNOWN" markers I passed today. It's hard to imagine circumstances of battle that are so horrid that their comrades were unable to identify them.
No person can contemplate the aggregate hell that these very young men endured. Yet they, like Pvt Caddy, willingly did what they needed to do, as if they were born born destined for this lone purpose. There are a million stories these young men endured that will never be known to us. I pray they found a fitting reward.

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