Memorial Day: Remembering my Aunt, a WAC & American Legion Post 746 Commander, Corning, NY

my Aunt Madeline in the army…a WAC during World War II, Women’s Army Corp

this is a lighter with the etching Past Commander on it; I photoshopped it to make the writing stand out

Memorial Day

Today is a day my Aunt Madeline was always busy. She was at the cemetery, a parade, or veteran’s event and arrived late to our holiday barbecues. I never went with her to these events and that is sad for me now, she is gone almost 20 years.

My aunt served in WW2, she was a WAC in Rome, mNY. A WAC was a member of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.

My aunt, Madeline Austin Castellino, was very involved in the Corning American Legion and I did go there with her. Once a year, at hunting season, she made a large venison dinner for the men at the legion. My sister and I went and helped her a few times. It was, from what I can see now, through a kaleidoscope of pots, pans, lettuce heads and napkins, a huge undertaking for one woman to orchestrate, but she seemed to enjoy doing it.

The most significant thing to me is that my aunt became the first woman Commander of the American Legion in Corning NY. Go Aunt Madeline, wherever you are. My Aunt was a doer and she honored the people who served, suffered, and died to live here and keep it, the US.

There is a line that Tom Hanks, playing Captain Miller, says at the end of saving private ryan that I find haunts me occasionally because of the things I take for granted. Hank’s character is dying, he is one of many that went into Europe to find and send home the only son left of an American mother named Mrs. Ryan. Hanks last words to Private Ryan: EARN THIS RYAN, EARN THIS!

It’s late Aunt Madeline, but I’m beginning to get it.