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Letters to Home - The Words of Clark's Fallen Heroes

Cpl. James Bullman, Civil War Credits: James Bullman
James Bullman, Civil War Credits: James Bullman
William Duffy, retired Clark police officer and former US Army drill sergeant, has worked tirelessly to research, preserve and tell the story of Clark's fallen heroes. Credits: TAPinto Clark File Photo - Susan Bonnell
James Bullman, Civil War Credits: James Bullman
Melvyn Graves wrote to his one year old son. Credits: Melvyn Graves
Cmd. Charles McCombs wrote to Bennie Bienko's sister. Credits: Cmdr. Charles McCombs
McCombs' letter continued. Credits: Cmdr. Charles McCombs
Russell Green sent his sister $5 for her birthday. Credits: Russell Green
Russell Green asked his parents for a family photo and some chocolate candy. Credits: Russell Green
Kenneth Kuspiel looked forward to the day he would be discharged and return home.  Credits: Kenneth Kuspiel
Kenneth Kuspiel wrote a 3 page letter to his family on the morning of his death.  Credits: Kenneth Kuspiel
Kuspiel's letter, page 2   Credits: Kenneth Kuspiel
Kenneth Kuspiel's final words to his family.  Credits: Kenneth Kuspiel
James W. Harvey II wrote this letter for his family to open in the event he died while in service.  Credits: James W. Harvey II

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.

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A Hero's Words: Sgt. James W. Harvey II, 2011, Afghanistan/Operation Enduring Freedom

A Hero's Words - Sp4 Kenneth Kuspiel, 1968, Vietnam

A Hero's Words - Pfc. Melvyn Graves, 1945, World War II

A Hero's Words - Pvt. Russell W. Green, 1944, World War II

A Hero's Words: Cpl. James Bullman, 1863, Civil War

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. 

In the Words of His Commanding Officer - Seaman Bennie Bienko, 1942, World War II

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.

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