Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day Salute to Robert Brownlow Wooliver (1926-1945)

by Pa Rock

There is a beautiful garden-like setting of several hundred acres at the southern tip of Okinawa called Peace Prayer Park.   The park, sitting atop sheer cliffs that look out onto the Pacific Ocean, is dedicated to the military personnel who fought and died in the bloody Battle of Okinawa in 1945 - all of the military personnel:  Japanese, Americans, and the Brits.  At the end of the battle when the Japanese realized that all was lost, many marched off of those cliffs and met their deaths on the rocks below.

Peace Prayer Park has a large interactive museum that shows newsreel footage from the battle, as well as a large assortment of life-sized dioramas and other exhibits.  The grounds of the park have numerous monuments, but the most significant monument is a set of marble panels that contain the names of all of the servicemen who died in the battle.  Over eleven thousand Americans are named on this marble panels.

On July 4th, 2012, just ten days before I departed Okinawa, I drove down to Peace Prayer Park and took photographs of all of the American and British panels - with the thought of eventually posting all of those names on-line in a searchable format.  (That is a retirement project waiting to happen!)

Today, in honor of Veteran's Day, I chose one of those individuals at random for a posthumous salute.

Robert Brownlow Wooliver was a Seaman 1st Class with the U.S. Naval Reserve working with Naval Construction Battalion 58 at the time of his death.  The seabee was born on the 19th of July in 1926 and died in the service of his country on the 27th of September 1945.   He was a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of William and Callie Rhodes Wooliver.   His funeral services were held on March 14th, 1949, at the Knoxville National Cemetery.

Seaman Wooliver, you did not die in vain, and you are not forgotten.   Rest in peace, sailor - and thank you for your service in the defense of freedom.

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