CLARK, NJ – First observed on May 30, 1868, Memorial Day – or Decoration Day – was a day set aside to commemorate the sacrifices of those who died in service during the United States Civil War.
“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens,” Ohio Congressman James A. Garfield at Arlington National Cemetery on that day. “For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”
During his research into Clark’s Fallen Heroes, William Duffy obtained several letters written by the young soldiers, and so “one word they spoke” can be known. Click on the following links to read and see the letters – written in the soldiers’ own hands – to their loved ones at home.
Bennie Bienko was lost at sea during the sinking of the U.S.S. Monssen. The following is a letter written by a commander who served aboard the ship, one of the few to survive that fateful night.
To read all 21 of the stories of Clark's Fallen Heroes, visit Clark's Fallen Heroes, The Series.
To find out more about William Duffy's quest to keep Clark's Fallen Heroes alive, visit One Man’s Quest to Keep Alive the Memory of Clark’s War Dead.
Editor's note: This story first appeared on TAPinto Clark in May of 2016. It is issued today as a recap of the historical work of William Duffy on the eve of Memorial Day in tribute to local fallen heroes.