The Medford Historical Commission recently was contacted by Vernon Chandler who wanted to share a bit of Medford history with the residents of Medford. He wrote a wonderful little blog post which we are sharing with our audience to raise awareness of our rich and diverse heritage.
Remembering Pvt. Kenneth E. Miller of Medford
My name is Vernon E. Chandler Ill of 34 Prospect St. in Hamilton, MA. My dad (Vernon E. Chandler Jr) and my mom (Joan E. (Gosse) Chandler) were long-time Medford, MA residents, as were their parents Vernon E. Chandler Sr. and Marjorie E. (Morton) Chandler and Charles W. Gosse and Alice (Colby) Gosse. I was born in Medford, MA and lived there with my family until 1957. We then moved to Reading, MA where we lived until I got married in 1977. I then moved to Hamilton, MA where I still live today.
I contacted the Historical Commission because my son (Brian Chandler) and I have been researching my second cousin, Pvt. Kenneth E. Miller of Medford, MA who was killed in Germany in WWII on October 18, 1944. He was the son of John B. Miller and Annie G. Miller (Alice Gosse’s sister) who lived at 19 Liberty Ave. in Medford, MA. We uncovered so much historical information on Kenneth and his unit, the 743rd Tank Battalion and with a lot of research we were able to locate the place the tank-on-tank battle occurred which took his life in Wurselen, Germany. He was only 19 years old. His remains were never recovered and returned home despite the best efforts of his mom, Annie Miller. We are continuing her search through the US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. This agency has classified the search for Kenneth’s remains as an “Active Pursuit”.
My son and I have been so deeply moved by Kenneth’s and his mom Annie’s WWII story, as well as the stories of all who served in World War II, that we planned and took a two-week World War II, 1800-mile driving tour of Europe this past September. Our tour included visits to 6 ABMC cemeteries and many historic WWII sites from Paris, France to Normandy, France to Belgium to The Netherlands to Luxembourg to Germany and finally to Austria. It was an unbelievable experience. We have many pictures and stories we’d like to share with the citizens of Medford, MA. This includes a visit to Pvt. Kenneth E. Miller’s memorial on the Wall of the Missing in Margraten, The Netherlands and, with our German guide, a visit to the actual open corn field location in Wurselen, Germany where the tank-on-tank battle took place and Kenneth’s tank was destroyed and he was killed.
At Margraten, we met the Dutch adopter of Kenneth’s name on the Wall of the Missing. Yes, Dutch adopter! Most Americans do not know that every grave and every memorial at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten has been adopted and cared for by a Dutch citizen since 1945. They truly appreciate and remember the sacrifices made by their “liberator soldiers” for their freedom. Freedom that they once lost and was then given back to them by American soldiers, kids. To this day they do not forget! They regularly visit and place flowers at the graves/memorials. They even undertook a program called “The Faces of Margraten” where the worked to put a face with every grave and every name on the Wall of the Missing. They even published a book by the same name. Check out the Netherlands American Cemetery online at: https://www.abmc.gov/Netherlands and the Adoption Program on line at: https://www.adoptiegraven–margraten.nl. Click on the flag ofthe USA in the upper right ofthe home page to see the English version of the adoption site.
With all of this in mind, I am looking forward to making a multimedia presentation to the Medford Historical Commission, Veterans Association, and interested citizens of Medford, MA to share these experiences with as many as possible and to possibly reach whomever from the Miller family may still live in or near Medford, MA. We believe our once in a lifetime experiences are only meaningful if we share them with others. I am working now to prepare this multimedia presentation to include pictures and video. I plan to make similar presentations in Reading, MA and my current hometown Hamilton, MA in the April timeframe.
Most especially, we want to make sure the words on the sign we put at the Wall of the Missing in Margraten are true, namely: “The people of Medford, MA USA … Know You Are Here!! …
Remember Your Sacrifice!! … And Eternally Thank You!!”
Be sure to be on the lookout for information regarding this presentation very soon!