Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995 Page: 112
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
The material is arranged more or less chronologically. The war deaths are
discussed in the order that they occurred; however, within the discussion of each death,
all that could be discovered about the man and his burial or family is related.
Funerals of Colorado County's war dead took three forms. First, there were
the funerals for those killed stateside. These men were brought home promptly for
immediate burial. Then, there were those killed overseas. Unlike the Vietnam conflict,
during which Americans became all too accustomed to seeing flag-draped caskets
removed from airplanes, those killed overseas in World War II were buried in military
cemeteries on the fields of combat all over the world. Their family and friends often
attended memorial services held in local churches at the time the deaths were confirmed.
Many of these casualties, however, were later disinterred and returned to their home
towns to be reinterred. Those whose relatives chose not to have the bodies returned
remained buried overseas, though some were removed to military cemeteries on friendly
soil. There were no plans to leave American dead in remote or hostile areas of the world.
In October 1946, the Quartermaster Corps announced that it was taking
requests for return of war dead. The bodies of those whose families responded, attended
by honor guards, were returned on special ships, each of which was painted white and
draped in black, and which could bear about 2000 war dead. Returned overseas
casualties began to reach Colorado County in 1947. Businesses routinely closed for two
hours for these funerals, which stretched the World War II grieving process until the start
of the Korean War.3
The Colorado County World War II dead represent a wide diversity. They
were army, navy, marines and air corps. There was a Medal of Honor winner; there were
victims of automobile accidents. They died in Columbus and Borden and in virtually every
theater of war from Guadalcanal to the waters off Japan, from North Africa to Germany.
They died as prisoners of war and flying the "hump." They died from before the first day
of the war until virtually the last day. They were black, Hispanic, and white. They were
sons of old Colorado County families and newly arrived families. Some came from large
farm families; some, when they died, left their parents childless. Some had huge military
funerals; some were lost at sea, never to be recovered. They are buried in huge American
military cemeteries around the world and in tiny family cemeteries in places like Ramsey.
These are the men listed on the DAR plaque at the courthouse, and those
listed on the addendum plaque:
Elo A. Ahlgrim Frank P. Blassingame Edward H. Bubolz, Jr.
Felton Forrest Alley Preston P. Brasher Daniel P. Christen
Orville Lee Baker Reinhardt Henry Breithaupt Clarence Ross Cone
3 Colorado County Citizen, October 31, 1946.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995, periodical, September 1995; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151395/m1/4/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.