Sunday, August 29, 2010

John R. Carleton

My mother was born in 1920. Audrey grew up as a tomboy in in Northeastern Pa. during the depression and was widowed by the time she was 24. My mother's first husband John R. Carleton, was killed in the Battle of the Bulge. War brides have the saddest stories. Before the war ended she was given a job for the Department of the Navy so she could support herself. Audrey worked at Naval Weapons Station Earl in Colts Neck NJ. That is where she met her next two husbands.

Her second husband Henry had served as a sailor in the South Pacific during WW2. He died in the late 50's leaving her with two young boys. Widowed again. In the early 60's, she met my father Frank at Earl and married him. Frank served in Viet Nam and died after retirement in '76. When asked if she would ever marry again, Audrey would respond "I buried three, I'll just get a dog."

About seven years ago, after several small strokes and the onset of Alzheimer's Audrey was moved to a nursing home. Being the youngest and closest, I assumed the task of sorting through a life time of possessions and distributing or disposing. I came across a forgotten family hallowed relic. A silver star earned by Audrey's first husband during the Ardennes Offensive. I am not a blood decedent, nor do I know of any. I need to find a place for this award, and the acknowledgement of his sacrifice.  

Somehow when I moved down to New Orleans six months ago the medal came with me. I thought for sure I had left it safely in a box in a storage unit in New Jersey. While going through some important documents that I had brought with me the Silver Star again showed up, this time in with my birth certificate.  During my first days in New Orleans my friend pointed out the WW2 Museum and commented on how great it is. It dawned on me that this is the place that the Silver Star should come to rest.

I am offering the Silver Star to the WW2 Museum in New Orleans for their collection. 

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