The first Second Lieutenant Malcolm, my father George, received his commission in the US Army Air Corps on May 8, 1943. Just a few short months later, he was in combat over the skies of Europe as a navigator in B-17s, and ten months later was a prisoner of war after being shot down on his 16th mission.
This telegram his parents received from the War Department began a period of worry during which his mother’s hair turned completely gray.
After three months they finally received this postcard:
Second Lieutenant Malcolm left a lot of good friends behind in the aerial battlefields, and he finally rejoined them in 2009.
A new Second Lieutenant Malcolm has just added a second link to the chain. Almost exactly 71 years after the first, my nephew—and George’s grandson—Kirk Malcolm was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps after graduating Friday from the Naval Academy. That’s him on the right in this picture:
The new 2LT Malcolm enters the service when his country is technically at peace after 13 long years of war. No one can predict the future even a few months out, but the simmering international situation does not promise slow and easy times ahead. Regardless of what the future holds, he and his classmates are prepared to serve their country as courageously and honorably as their fathers and grandfathers did.
On this Memorial day, we remember those who went before and honor those who serve today.