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Homage from a hero’s niece.

May 31, 2016

Carol Struckman, Carl R. Bonde, Jr.’s niece.

This is the season I have been waiting for! I had my best friends over yesterday for an afternoon of bridge. We watched the pretty little birds out at the feeder with the door open to the green, green lawn. This morning the door is open again and I’m loving it. I am remembering my uncle Buddy who was killed in the English channel on his way to D Day. He was only 21. God bless him.

 My sister is one of the one or two people on the planet whom I know remembers our uncle Carl R. Bonde, Jr., or “Buddy.”  I just traveled with my wife and dog to Kalispell to the Conrad Memorial Cemetery, where we placed flowers at the monument with his name engraved.
We believe Buddy died in the English Channel that fateful night when German  U-486 sunk his troopship.  However, in all of the confusion, the darkness, the seasickness, nobody alive knows for sure.
I visited an E Company reunion in Sarasota, Florida, in 2006, to spend four days interviewing and chatting with six of the men who knew Buddy most intimately at the end of his life.  They took great pains to assure me that Buddy died instantly in the blast.
I thought they protested overmuch.  Accounts of the SS Leopoldville tragedy often described men who screamed, men who wept, men who called out for their mothers — even men who fell between the Leo and a rescue ship, the HMS Brilliant.  Yet, nobody seemed to be able to identify them.
And personal accounts of the events of Christmas Eve, 1944, were numerous, published in at least five books, plus the several written accounts I have from William Moomey and William Loughborough that have not been published.  Not yet.
What am I suggesting here?  Just that we must keep our minds open to the possibility that truth may yet be told if we but have ears to listen.

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