Tell Dad not to worry as I go in the fight;
My buddies and I will be all right.
We trained and trained to win this war;
No country on earth will push us anymore.
Though we might be frightened by the enemy unseen,
We have on our side God who is supreme.
As the shells come screaming and the bullets come fast,
Nothing can stop us for we are in combat at last.
Some men are hit and cry out in pain;
For them the battle is over, and they are never the same.
As my buddies and I get near our goal,
A shell hits me, and I’ll never grow old.
I’ll never get married and have a wife;
I’ll never have children, the joy of my life.
There are so many things I wanted to see,
But fate stepped in; it will never be.
My battle has ended, but my comrades go on;
Nothing can stop them until the enemy is gone.
They pick up the wounded and bury the dead;
Then a telegram is sent where it will be read.
Tell Dad not to worry and Mom not to cry;
We’ll meet in Heaven as the years go by.
* * *
About the author: Frank Niader (Clifton, NJ) is the brother of Private William Niader (USMC), who was KIA on 12 June 1945, on Kunishi Ridge, Okinawa. Frank wrote the above poem in June 2000, in loving memory of his brother.
Condolence letter from
Bill's company commander
My Dear Mrs. Niader,
Since the battle has ended and Okinawa Shima has been secured, this is the first opportunity I have had as Commanding Officer, Headquarters and Service Company, Seventh Marines, to communicate with you as I wished concerning your son's death. I am aware that nothing I might say can cushion the loss to you of this brave man, but I felt the wish and duty of assuring you that you are not entirely alone in feeling the loss of Private William V. Niader.
During the time William Niader was among us, he earned and enjoyed the respect and friendship of his fellow Marines; and while he was deservedly popular with the men, I am happy to be able, as his Commanding Officer, to tell you that his abilities made him noticeable to his commanders as well. It is impossible even under the hurried conditions of combat, not to notice such characteristic behavior and recognize with pleasure the credit it reflects on a man's upbringing and environment as well as on himself. I feel that it is a kind of unspoken tribute which a man's character pays to the loved ones at home who have done so much towards moulding it.
It is typical of William Niader that he met his death, which was mercifully quick and painless, in the manner which he did. He was helping others, and in the end, (performing) the most dangerous and necessary as well as humane tasks that a man can undertake in combat. He was a member of a stretcher team moving through the town of Itoman on the southern end of the island at about five o'clock in the evening on the twelfth of June when an enemy artillery shell exploded near him. A Navy medical corpsman was present but William was beyond help.
Three Sundays ago there was a solemn and beautiful ceremony at our First Marine Division Cemetery, which is located in a grove on a high hill overlooking Yontan Airport and the East China Sea. It is oddly peaceful and serene there, with the broad busy highways, the flourishing airfield, and the crowded harbors of American shipping below. General Stillwell, Commanding General of the Tenth Army, General del Valle, our own Commanding General, and our Division chaplains spoke sincere words over the graves, each of them with its pure white cross, its cleanly painted name, and its American flag. But I thought the most inspiring words of all were those of the late Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was a soldier himself and wounded three times. His words are painted in a scroll on the white pergola, which has been built at the entrance to our Cemetery.
"At the grave of a hero we end, not with sorrow at the inevitable loss but with contagion of his courage and with a kind of desperate joy we go back to the fight. . ."
Maurice J. Cavanaugh, Jr.