Springfield man who died in WWII honored in Western MA - KCTV5

Springfield man who died in WWII honored in Western MA

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AGAWAM, MA (WSHM) -

Seventy years after he lost his life while defending our country, a Springfield resident was honored on Saturday.

Harold Marney served on the PT-109 torpedo patrol boat during World War II.

The 19-year-old had been on the boat for a week, serving along side future U.S. President John F. Kennedy, when a collision with a Japanese ship cost Marney and one other shipmate their lives.

Saturday at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Marney was recognized for the first time with a headstone.

It was an honor that Marney's family was proud to accept.

"It's closure," said Marney's nephew Dennis Harkins. "He's home. It gives him recognition. Up until now, he's been just another poor soul - a victim of the conflict. At least he's home in that sense."

For the organizers who put together Saturday's ceremony, tracking down the Marney family was the tough part.

They have been working on the ceremony since February, and the wheels have been in motion on the honor for years.

Organizers said a day like Saturday is important in remembering our military.

"Something like this pops up that is off schedule, there's not a lot of attention normally," said Brian Willette, junior vice commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Hampden County District 7. "It adds an extra emphasis on it that this is something that is important enough to recognize and commemorate. Any day is a good time to recognize a veteran and his contributions to the country."

Willette said they are working with the Springfield Museums to try and create an exhibit honoring Marney.

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