verne v. morse.

These Morse Family Tree entries will almost definitely continue being rewritten for awhile, in the interest of clarity and my eventual satisfaction.


Of all the dead relatives I've never met, I'm probably closest to Verne. Well of course close isn't the right word, but he's been a part of the story for a long time, since I was young, and his name was always spoken with that sad reverence that accompanies the names of those who died tragically young and/or in a way that left those around them permanently changed.


As a result, I've given him a bit of thought, but without really having any facts about him at hand. I'd always heard that he was a "war hero", which of course renders his death outside of battle in the days after the war ended actually ironic I believe. Can't find much reprintable material out there, but it appears that his behavior on D-Day as part of the Omaha Beach landing has been written about in a couple of places, and yes, everyone probably knows this but me, but the gruesome first 24 minutes of Saving Private Ryan are in fact based on the Omaha beachhead assault. Here's his picture on file with the Army, he looks quite a bit like his brother George. Also, note the ears.

He is buried in Margraten, near Maastricht. Pop had always wanted to see his brother's grave, but never got a chance. He asked my mom that if she ever got over here, would she take a picture of it for him. Well, he asked her this before I ever had any inclination of even visiting Europe, much less living here. And so for me to have spent the last 10 years or so within a three-hour train ride from Verne's grave is an especially bittersweet coincidence.

Speaking of coincidences. My mother did come over once, back in 2002 or 2003, and yes we did go down to Margraten and take a picture of Verne's grave. Which I can't find at the moment.

But that's OK, because before we went to Margraten, I bought an Eyewitness travel guide about Maastricht & South Limburg (pictured above). One night, a couple of months after my parents' visit, I was in bed just looking through the stack of books on the bedside table, and found the Maastricht book there. Flipping through, I ended up on one of the pages about Margraten, and for some reason I took an especially close look at the one headstone they'd pictured out of the 8,302 graves there:

Don't know if you can read that, it says "Verne V. Morse".



Klary Koopmans said...

did you time this especially for May 4th? Anyway, it´s an amazing story and I really admire you for tackling your family history. I have very mixed feelings about delving into mine.

MEM said...

I didn't even remember it was May, I thought we were still in April.

I'm glad you asked about the date, because my first reaction was, "Oh no, please tell me today is not the day he died or I will FREAK OUT" because obviously he is trying to communicate with me.

But zooming in on that headstone reveals that he died on 5 June 1945, not May at all. I know I read May in an anecdote of Ed's, but I'm sure the genealogical entries have the right dates. Good lesson, though...

For the rest...yeah, thanks for reading. I just kind of had an epiphany that if I don't do it, it's not going to get done.