23 May 2011
My father was at work at the cotton mill which was located in the southern part of the town of Summerville when he received the telegram that contained the dreaded news that his oldest son had been killed in action. He then walked the long distance to the house where we lived on West Washington Street to bring that news to us. That part of the road was unpaved and our rental house was located on the top of a ridge. I was standing on the front porch when I saw him coming up the hill and he shouted out the words I have never forgotten, “Martin has been killed.” I was almost 10 years old at the time and I remember well the over-whelming sorrow and grief my family experienced upon learning that terrible news, especially my parents. We had not received any ‘air mail’ letters from Martin for sometime and my parents were greatly concerned about his safety. Following the news of his death we received packages back that my mother had sent to him, some containing food items and I well remember that mother would not permit my younger brother and me to eat the sweets.
Martin’s wife had the choice of having his body brought back to the states for burial or to be buried in a military cemetery in Europe and she chose the latter and this decision nearly killed my parents, especially mother who suffered emotionally for several years as they never had any ‘closure’ relating to the death of their precious first born child. I remember how I believed that he had not been killed but perhaps captured or wounded and that one day he would come home.
Martin was buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery in the village of Margraten, 6 miles east of Maastricht. Though I have never seen his grave site, I have a niece who visited his grave; and a friend who attended worship at the Prattville church several years ago who was a native of Holland and while visiting relatives in Rotterdam she made a special trip to the cemetery where Martin is buried. She brought me the flag that was on his grave and here is a picture that she gave me.
In Him, Raymond Elliott