HISTORY LEAVES US, AGAIN
This past week I received notice of more Humble Heroes that very recently passed away: Joseph Daniel Marion, Kenneth Gail Henry and Patrick Carigan. Each of these men served with distinction, bravery, honor and as is so true of all of the Nashvillers I have met, great humbleness. I was closest to Patrick. In fact, Patrick and his lovely wife Phyllis became good friends with my wife Gigi and me. Our familial friendship had historical root, Patrick was close friends with my Dad aboard the Nashville. They shared many a laugh during liberty in Australia and many, many stressful times during long months at sea under surface and air attacks by Japanese forces culminating in the Kamikaze attack of December 13, 1944 that killed 133 men and wounded another 190.
I first met Patrick in Nashville, Tennessee at my first ship’s reunion. I walked into the hotel’s reserved bar area where many a Nashviller and wife was chatting away over cocktails, telling stories all have heard and all were eager to share again. A tall, stately looking gentleman across the room caught my eye. He seemed to be starring at me with a look of recognition, like he was surprised and happy to see me. He slowly walked across the crowded room towards me, a glide more than a walk, as his gaze never left me. With a resonant, warm voice of affection, he said “You’re George Bustin’s son aren’t you?” “Yes sir, I am” I replied, rather stunned as no one but the head of the reunion association, Marine Don Hill, knew I was coming to the event. “Well, I loved your Dad and can remember many a night when he entertained us on watch with his harmonica, he played all the great tunes of the day” Patrick said in that eloquent, drawn out Kentucky dialect. And with that, our friendship commenced with neither hesitation nor reservation.
He was extremely helpful in providing information for the book, genuinely kind, considerate and generous to my Mom, Uncle Charlie and wife Gigi. An intelligent and charming man, brave and unassuming, he was the epitome of a Humble Hero. Patrick, we loved you and will miss you. With the passing of Joseph, Kenneth and Patrick, and the others that have gone before, we all have less in our lives. But we are all better off for the way their lived theirs.
Joseph, Kenneth and Patrick, we all owe you a debt that cannot be paid, thank you for your service and your sacrifice.