Before leaving Okinawa for good in July of 2012, I made a final trip to Peace Park at the southern end of the island and carefully photographed each panel in the monument that has been dedicated to the American and British servicemen who died in the Battle of Okinawa in April - June of 1945. The long string of panels contain over 11,000 names of the casualties from that period. There are also panels dedicated to the Japanese servicemen who died in the battle located on the same site.
I am currently in the very slow process of transcribing all of those names into a word document which I plan to eventually post on the Internet as a genealogy and historical research aid. Last year on Veteran's Day I chose a young Marine by the name of Romeo Dye to highlight. Private Dye, a native of rural West Virginia, was just eighteen-years-old when he was killed during the invasion of the Japanese island.
In August of this year I received a surprise email from a retired naval veteran who finds and maintains the graves of veterans in his area. The veteran informed me that the grave of Romeo Dye was one of those which he was maintaining. We exchanged correspondence, and he sent me a newspaper photo of Romeo along with a picture of his grave. The young man was strikingly handsome. He is buried next to his mother, Olive Godby, in a rural West Virginia cemetery.
Private Romeo Napoleon Dye: born November 4, 1926 in West Virginia, died June 21, 1945 on Okinawa.
Private Dye gave his all for the defense of his country - and he gave it at a very young age. May his sacrifice as well as the sacrifices of countless millions of others who have fought and died for the ideals of freedom and democracy never be forgotten.
And may Congress finally wake up to the staggering needs of our young veterans - men and women who, like Romeo Dye, went to war with an understanding that they would be respected, and if need be, taken care of, by the country that they fought to preserve and protect.
No one should have to sleep out on the streets of America, especially veterans!