Memorial Day, to Remember Our War Casualties

Memorial Day is set aside for Americans to remember our war casualties. 

Not our veterans. Not our ancestors. Our war casualties.

That means more to families directly affected, but each Memorial Day there are ceremonies to remember in cemeteries across the county. In fact, people in Europe and in the Philippines and around the world remember our war dead with solemn observances in our overseas American cemeteries. They still revere those Americans who lost their lives to help free their nations from tyranny.

Our family always took homegrown flowers to Perry’s Violet Hill Cemetery, to honor the three Wilson brothers who lost their lives during WWII. Only Junior, the youngest son of Clabe and Leora Wilson, is buried there. A cenotaph commemorates Daniel Wilson, who is buried in the Lorraine American cemetery in France, and Dale Wilson. Only God knows where his remains lie today. 

Leora Wilson arranging home-grown flowers, Violet Hill Cemetery, Perry, 1969

With all five sons gone, Clabe and Leora Wilson moved to an acreage near Perry in late 1944, when they could no longer handle the tenant farm at Minburn. Clabe buried not long after the war, having died of a stroke and a broken heart. And since 1987, the boys’ mother Leora Wilson has been buried there.

Be sure to take time to remember those who gave their lives for our nation, even for our world. 

Or you could take your family to visit one or several Freedom Rocks around the state. All five Wilson brothers are pictured on the Dallas County Freedom Rock at Minburn. Only two of them came home. 

Donald, Delbert, Dale, Daniel, and Junior Wilson on the Dallas County Freedom Rock, Minburn, Iowa

Remember that Memorial Day is reserved for those who lost their lives in service to our nation.

Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II is the story of the Wilson family.


  1. Your forbears were brave men who I will not forget, particularly this Monday. Thank you for conveying their story to us all in your book, Leora’s Letters. It is a beautiful, personal work.

    • Thank you, Robert. I’m thankful that so many are getting acquainted with little courageous Grandma Leora. She graciously lived with those losses, and widowhood, for another four decades.

  2. Amen Ms. Joy. Let us never forget the cost paid for that hamburger and tater salad so many enjoy this Memorial Day weekend. Let us never dishonor their sacrifice by exercising the freedoms they paid for in a way that goes against everything these brave young men and women who gave their lives in defense of those American freedoms.

    • Thank you, JD. We Americans lost the solemnity of the day when it became a 3-day weekend. Hearing “Happy Memorial Day” just rings false, doesn’t it. Most Americans don’t know a war casualty, but those who live near our American cemeteries overseas are very are of the high price of freeing their homelands from tyranny.

  3. Thank you for this important reminder, Joy. Wishing someone a “Happy Memorial Day” does strike a discordant note, as does “Enjoy your three-day weekend.”

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