My mother’s brother Joseph William Thornton enlisted in the 82nd Airborne, 505th PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) when he was 19 years old. He jumped into Normandy on June 16, 1944, according to the Purple Heart presented to my grandparents. My mother used to talk about how Joe loved the woods of Michigan’s upper peninsula where he would go camping with his best friend, and about how he wouldn’t shoot a deer, though his buddies were hunters. She said that the song of the Mourning Dove always reminded her of Joe. Since mom connected the memory of Joe with the dove, I always think of him when I hear that soft, mournful coo, most prevalent here in early June.
44 years later, my son Ross was born on June 6th, 3 weeks ahead of his due date, his birth reinforcing that this date will never be just an average day to me! He turns 21 today, a fine young man making his way in the world!