Sunday, May 25, 2014

William Robert Caddy


This appeared in the Boston Herald a couple of years ago, in slightly different form.




Caddy Road is a side street off of a side street off of yet another side street. It's the Dorchester Lower Mills street I grew up on in Boston.



One year, when I was 8 or 9 and Memorial Day neared, I noticed that our street signs were decorated with small American flags. 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, via some research at the local 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, though; just that one fact. I didn't know what war, or what he may have done in that war. Nevertheless, I felt proud to live on a street that was named after a hero.

A little later in life - I believe it was when I was 20 - I was driving in Quincy and I pulled into a parking lot near Wollaston Beach. There, I discovered a marker, denoting a little park that existed just beyond the parking lot. The marker read "Caddy Memorial Park".



Yes, it was named after the same person. I now came to realize that 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 little additional 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.

He was born on August 8th, 1925, in Quincy. He died March 3rd, 1945, on Iwo Jima.

He served with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 28th Marines. While in action against the Japanese on Iwo Jima, Caddy and two other men in his platoon (a sergeant and a lieutenant) were advancing against enemy machine gun fire. Seeking cover, the three Marines dropped into a shell hole. After unsuccessfully attempting several times to advance, Caddy and the other men engaged in a hand grenade battle with the defending Japanese. An enemy missile landed in the hole where the three men were taking shelter.

Caddy covered it with his body, absorbing the full impact of the explosion.

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

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, with gratitude, a man or woman who made such enjoyments possible for us all?

Thank you. 

 

15 comments:

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

I, too, remember a man I never met.
His name is on the memorial plaque in the gymnasium at the University of San Francisco.
I was named after him.

OldAFSarge said...

Well said my brother.

I will remember.

messymimi said...

There are a few i remember. Sweetie's Uncle was one.

Jinksy said...

That's what I cal a long winded bit of research! WEll done for sticking with it. LOL

Jinksy said...

...of course. 'call' would have made much more sense...

Jinksy said...

...so would 'Well' !

Buck said...

Two men are high in my thoughts this Memorial Day: The Ol' Man, who made it back from the Big One and lived a good life, and Captain Carroll 'Lex' LeFon, USN (Ret), who died doing what he loved.

Stephen Hayes said...

Today I'm remembering Darwin Thomas, my neighbor growing up. He was only in his early twenties when his plane took a direct hit in Vietnam. His body has yet to be recovered.

Suldog said...

I asked Skip to elucidate on his comment here. He did, and it's worth a read. head on over to...

http://certifiedskip.blogspot.com/2014/05/thanks-dad.html

Shammickite said...

We don't have Memorial Day in Canada, but we remember our heroes on Remembrance Day Nov 11 instead. I think of my mother's cousin, Jack Chandler, who came to Canada from UK to learn farming techniques. When WW1 broke out he enlisted in the Canadian forces and was sent to England and then France. He was killed 3 July 1916, age 20. My sons and I visited his grave in a military cemetery near Arras, France, a few years ago.

Daryl said...

what a terrific post

Sarah said...

A coworker of mine spent more than a year researching the 40 plus war memorials that are scattered around the Town of Barnstable. It's amazing the meaning you discover behind the things you pass every day. Our "Memorials of Remembrance" series is the result of his research. If you're interested, you can find them here: http://youtu.be/apfMCnqQ8SU

Suldog said...

Sarah - Thank you! That's very cool!

sandyland said...

love it and can I expect your support for the HEAT??

Anonymous said...

Ѵery nice aгticle, exactly what I needeԀ.