Memorial Day

Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Day to Day | 4 comments

 

The Gallardo Boys

For those who have lost a loved one, served our country, or who have otherwise been affected, Memorial Day is not about the commercialism of shopping and fireworks. It’s a day filled with honor, sadness, and reverence.

Every Memorial Day that I lived in Michigan was spent visiting the cemetery where my family rests. We took flowers and flags, and knelt at the military marker of my Uncle Eno who was killed in action in WWII.  My Uncle Joe, a WWII veteran, and the man who raised me, always referred to my Uncle as a hero. He gave his life for our country -something I understood even though I wasn’t yet in kindergarten. Even then, I felt the honor, gratitude, and pain.

To see my uncle – who at 6’1” seemed like a giant, gracefully kneel and dust off his brother’s grave, hat in hand, head bowed, is something that has stayed with me for a lifetime. My words cannot do my family justice. Instead, I would like to post an article that appeared in 1945 in our local newspaper. Please take a moment to read the article – not for me, not for my family – but to honor all of those who have sacrificed so much.

McHugh, Kathleen. “One Gold Star and Four Blue Stars Mark Service Flag for Gallardo Brothers” 

The Pontiac Daily Press 27 July 1945

On the honor roll for Pontiac, are the names of  five Gallardo boys. Joseph,
Frank, Henry, Eno and Angelo. In the window of the home of Mrs. Eleanor
Gallardo, 292 West Wilson, there are five stars—one of them gold.

In Pontiac they were known as the Gallardo boys rather than by their individual names. They were so much alike, dark haired and brown eyed, that when they
were seen around, friends called one by the name of the other.

When Pearl Harbor came it was a clear call to the Gallardo boys. Frank
volunteered for the army and after taking his training in the states he was sent over-
seas in December 1943 for further training with the 4th Infantry Division. On D-day
this outfit was one of the First American assault forces to storm the beaches of
Normandy. In subsequent operations the distinction of being first into the port of
Cherbourg. It spearheaded the break through at St. Lo and was the First American
unit to enter Paris. They fought at Hartgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. For
his work Frank, now master sergeant, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal “for
meritorious service in operations against the enemy.” He wears four Bronze Stars
for participation in four major battles and the Bronze Arrowhead for participation
in the initial landing in Normandy. Frank is now home from overseas on a well
earned leave.

Then it was Joe’s turn. He didn’t have to go. He was a pre-Pearl Harbor
father and eligible for exemption. He was inducted into the Army and after his
basic training was sent to the signal corps at Camp Crowder, MO. For his
outstanding ability as an instructor in the highly technical signal communications he
has been chosen to help in the initial installations of communication centers in
Canada and Alaska. Tribute was further paid for his instructing abilities when he
was chosen to go to the United States Military Academy at West Point to give
special instruction to the graduating class of cadets in June, 1944. His courage was
proven during one of his demonstrations when at the risk of great injury to himself
he saved a group of men from injury through his quick thinking. For this he was
recommended for the Soldier’s Medal. He also wears the American and Asiatic-
Pacific theatre ribbons.

Henry, the third oldest, was inducted in March, 1943 into the combat military
police corps, and is now stationed at Fort Custer. He has seen extensive duty in the
states as a guard, has served as an escort guard for prisoners of war and at present
is helping in the training of other men as military police at Custer.

Next came Angelo. He volunteered and was accepted for training as an
aviation cadet. However, due to the decreased demand for pilots he was later trans-
ferred to the ground crew and in October, 1944 was sent overseas. He is now
serving in France with the European division of the Air Transport Command.

That left only Eno, eligible for duty and in October he was inducted into the
infantry. He was sent to Camp Wheeler, Georgia for his training and was sent over-
seas, arriving in France in January of 1945.

So there at last were the five Gallardo boys on the honor roll and five stars in
the window of the Gallardo home.

KILLED IN GERMANY

On April 17 a telegram came to the home of Mrs. Gallardo announcing that
Eno had been killed in action in Germany on April 3. A letter came from Eno’s
company commander.

It read: “The officers and men with whom he served have
asked that I express to you their heartfelt sympathy over the death of your son,
Private First Class Eno Gallardo, who was killed in action against the enemy on
April 3, 1945. In your hour of grief it is their wish that you know that the men with
whom he fought so valiantly share your loss.”

On May 8, Mrs. Gallardo received a letter from the war department advising
that PFC Eno Gallardo had been awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star
Medal for his heroic work in Germany.

Gallardo Brothers Article as it appeared

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Denise,
    I decided I would go up later in the week and pay a visit to Mt. Hope. I will dust off Uncle Eno’s marker for you. I think they are all at Mt. Hope aren’t they? Did I asume incorrectly? My dad and Uncle J are there in a newer section and I thought Grandma was there as well. I remember looking for uncle eno’s marker way back but we couldn’t find it?

  2. Liz, Thank you, Sending you the worlds biggest hug!

    Yes, Uncle Joe, Uncle Eno, Aunt Sarah, Grandma, Uncle Andy, my dad and Grandad are all there. I can’t remember for certain if Uncle Hank is there. The markers are pretty close to each other If you find Grandma or Aunt Sarah, everyone else is close by. 😉

    • Drove thru with the fire truck today, was hard not to shed a tear. I do enjoy working in pontiac, bringing back memories.

      • When I go home, it’s always so bittersweet going to the cemetary. I feel so at peace there, yet it’s so incredibly sad to see how much of our family has passed away. Especially on days like today. I really miss Uncle Frank, you know how he always used to participate on events on Memorial Day and Veteren’s Day.