Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Friday, June 19, 1942, Page 4

Brave Son, Brave Mother

THE GLOBE-GAZETTE in this little editorial believes it speaks for the Mason City community in extending deepest sympathy to Mrs. Ida BURKE of Mason City in the death of her son, Private William A. BURKE of the U.S. marine corps. He died, a hero, in the defense of Midway.

Bill BURKE is remembered here as the typical American boy, active in school activities, possessing an infectious smile, the pal of everybody. Around the Globe-Gazette office, he is recalled for the help he gave in the news coverage of St. Joseph school sports contests. Before that he was a carrier boy, and a good one.

Bill was just 18 years old, 3 years away from the draft. But when the Japanese plunged United States into the war, he didn't wait. He left Junior college in mid-year to enroll in the marines. Men looking for a soft spot don't join this branch of service.

His enlistment was on Jan. 28, 1942. After two months of schooling at the marine base in San Diego, he was sent to Honolulu. From there he moved on to that tiny speck in the great Pacific called Midway. Death came to him in action. Details have not been received. The cryptic note from the war department said only that he had been "killed in the performance of his duty for his country."

This Mason City mother in the past few years has been called upon three occasions to drink deeply from the bowl of grief. Many others under like conditions would be broken of spirit as well as of heart. But not Mrs. BURKE. She has been the good soldier on the homefront as her son proved himself to be on the battle front.

"It's the price we must pay to maintain our freedom," she told a neighbor through her tears on the day the sad intelligence of her son's death reached her.

The name of Bill BURKE is etched deep in the list of Iowa's war heroes and his mother has in full measure both the sympathy and the admiration of the Mason City community.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2012



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