In Westport, a soldier's compassion remembered

Westport marks Memorial Day Monday

By Ted Hayes
Posted 5/28/24

Hundreds of veterans and their families converged on the Beech Grove Cemetery Monday morning to mark Memorial Day, honoring the fallen in Westport and beyond.

Though nearly 80 years have passed …

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In Westport, a soldier's compassion remembered

Westport marks Memorial Day Monday

Posted

Hundreds of veterans and their families converged on the Beech Grove Cemetery Monday morning to mark Memorial Day, honoring the fallen in Westport and beyond.

Though nearly 80 years have passed since the war ended, sacrifices made by World War II service members were close on everyone’s mind, and veteran Clifford Brightman was given the honor of laying the memorial wreath to start the ceremony.

Mo Dore, son of WWII veteran Maurice Dore, spoke of his father’s experience as a Sea Bee during D-Day. At just 20 years old, he worked with the Sea Bees to build defense structures and plan prior to the Allied landing at Normandy. The Navy Sea Bees, otherwise known as the 81st Construction Battalion, stayed in Normandy following the invasion and were tasked with building camps, hospitals, headquarters and installing communications facilities. While there he came to know a group of four children whose home had been destroyed, and their mother killed, by Allied bombers. They were living in a tent.

“He took the children under his wing and helped them get food and supplies,” Dore said.

Though his father had photos of the children, “my father never talked about the war — but when I persisted, he mentioned that he had helped those kids who had lost everything.”

In 2011, Dore was able to fulfill a long-time dream of visiting Normandy, though his father stayed behind in the states.

With the help of a tour guide prior to the trip, the family was able to learn the identity of and meet two of the children, now 74 and 76 years old.

“Emotions were high and they welcomed us with open arms,” he said. One of them told him that “during the worst two days of my life, when my mother was killed ... your father appeared in my life like an angel to provide me comfort.”

Since that trip, the Dore family has returned twice more.

“I guess the lesson we can all learn today is that being kind and compassionate can have a huge ripple effect that can have such a positive impact on people’s lives that will continue for generations to come. With the 80th anniversary of D-Day fast approaching, I would on behalf of my dad, leave you with a quote from Petter Jennings, former Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute:

“If any single day can credibly be presented as the defining moment of an entire century, it is definitely June 6, 1944.”

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