Atop an old World War II machine gun nest overlooking the Irish Sea at Killough in County Down, local Irishman Chris Donnelly noticed a considerable number of chiselled and worn bricks where American soldiers had attempted to inscribe their names while stationed at the Northern Island location several decades ago.
Moving in to take a closer look at the stone faces revealed that harsh coastal weather conditions and seventy-some-odd years of time lapse had managed to render every single marked brick illegible, save one... that which reads:
“Don Frederickson, Granite Falls, Minnesota.”
“It makes a guy wonder when he was scratching his name in the brick,” said Legion Commander Dorian Gatchell. “...whether he was doing it a little deeper to ensure it would be there for posterity.”
Whether for posterity or pastime, Frederickson’s motivation did the trick––and finding the one lone inscription inspired Donnelly to take to the world wide web to see what he could find out about the mystery name.
It didn’t take long for the Irishman to discover that Frederickson had passed nearly four decades ago, but that his wife, Carolyn, appeared alive and well. Reaching out to the Granite Falls American Legion Post #69 through its Facebook page, Donnelly connected with Gatchell, shared his story, and inquired as to whether the Legion Commander would be interested in getting Frederickson’s wife a photo of the brick.
Gatchell enthusiastically took up the cause noting, “I just really thought it was neat that after 70 years the brick comes back home.”
Over at Henry Hill, the framed the picture rests upon a counter top in Carolyn Frederickson’s apartment where it is awaiting a mounting bracket and blank span of wall.
“It was a surprise,” Carolyn said of the gesture. “I certainly appreciate them sending the picture.”
Whether or not the picture jogged any memories, Carolyn was honest and stated: not really. She noted that the two were wed in 1952 and over the course their 26 years together the war was not often a topic of discussion.
“He never did talk about it much,” she said. “But my memory now is so terrible.”
How much longer the brick will withstand the test of time is anyone’s guess, but even when it finally weathers away posterity’s promise will remain engraved in stone––even if just on an 8x10 glossy photograph.