Remembering the big brother who didn’t come back

(Pictured: An old photo shows Lorraine Hines Burns, left, and her friend Babe Lepinski Brown, as they visited with Lorraine’s brother Raphael during his last visit home. Who could have imagined they would not see him again? Submitted photo)

At her home south of Lindbergh State Park, Lorraine said, “We heard it was a bad storm that sunk his ship. Still, some say it was an enemy attack. Did the enemy come that close and the officials didn’t want us to know? A few of the crew did survive. Dad kept calling and writing to some of them but we never learned much. No, Raphael never came back. But, four years ago, they did put up a stone with his name on it at the Veterans Cemetery by Camp Ripley. It makes me feel so good that his name is there and that he can be remembered.”

A National World War II Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. Saturday, May 29. The memorial honors the more than 16 million people who served in the U.S. armed forces during the war, and the over 400,000 who lost their lives in the war. They came from cities and towns from one end of the country to the other—and in between, like Little Falls, MN.

Monday, May 31, is Memorial Day. The day was originally known as Decoration Day because the graves of those who died in the Civil War were decorated with flowers. After World War I, observances began to honor those who had died in all of America’s wars. And, in 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May.

“It was hard to accept that my brother was never coming back,” recalled Lorraine as she looked at Raphael’s graduation picture and high school diploma. “As a young girl, when I’d come home, I’d look to see if he was there—that maybe, just maybe, he had been saved and had been on an island. But, it never happened.”

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