About William Donovan-
Recently as you may know, we held the first FDR/March of Dimes Birthday Ball celebration, at the Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, NY and at the Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, since 1945. It was great fun and and an aesthetic and financial success. My original idea on this effort was presented to Mr. William vanden Heuval, the former Ambassador to the UN and the current President of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.
Recently I met with him, at his offices on 5th Avenue in New York, and I suggested a future meeting with two of my colleagues, regarding the expansion of our Birthday Ball effort. In the course of my conversation I learned that the Ambassador was quite well connected with General William Donovan, the legendary head of the OSS, during the 2nd World War and a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions at the Argonne Forest. He was awarded the Medal of Honor while serving as an officer with the 165th Infantry, formerly known as the Fighting 69th, which of course was part of the famous Rainbow Division. It was nicknamed the “Rainbow Division”, because it was the first division composed of men from all over the United States. This division was home to the famous fighting Tennessean, Sgt. Alvin C. York, who captured and knocked out 20+ German machine gun nests, single-handedly and captured over 130 of the enemy himself.
Of course the, the Fighting 69th of New York, was a famous regiment made up of many Irish-Americans from New York City, including Father Francis Duffy, for whom Duffy Square in NYC, is named, and the heroic Sergeant Joyce Kilmer, author/poet of “Trees”, who was killed in action in the same campaign, along with 644 others.
Joyce Kilmer in France
In a wood they call Rouge Bouquet
There is a new made grave today,
Built by never a spade or pick
Yet covered with earth ten metres thick.
There lie many fighting men,
Dead in their youthful prime,
Never to laugh or love again
Nor taste the Summertime,
For Death came flying through the air
And stopped his flight at the dugout stair,
Touched his prey and left them there,
Clay to clay….
Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor,
You will not need them any more,
Now at last,
Go to sleep!