On this Memorial Day I can't help thinking about my biological maternal grandfather, William Ott Johnston, who died at the end of World War 1.
Until 2008 I never even knew my grandfather's name. I took on an impossible mission of obtaining that information. The fact that everyone who could have helped me was deceased simply made my task harder, but I was determined. All I had was a 1921 photo of my grandmother and my mother at age 10, displaying a Gold Star banner.
I was not satisfied just knowing my grandfather's name I wanted to know more about him. Because I now had his military ID # I downloaded a form and sent for his records, realizing that I am his oldest living next of kin.. I at least wanted to know where he is buried. My search came to a sudden end when the form came back with the explanation- "most of the records between 1912 and 1959 were destroyed in a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center".
It still makes me very sad that because of war my connection with my maternal grandfather was lost to me forever. Because of what happened to my mother as a child I wonder how many more children will be left without parents as the result of senseless wars for power.