While I was pregnant with my first child, in 1983, at the Golden Gate National Cemetary, I first saw his name in stone:
Slighte, George Ronald,
b. 06/27/1915, d. 06/05/1949,
PVT CANNON CO 128 INFTY 32 DIV
I had never seen his face, but he was my grandfather. My father was four years old when he passed. All my life I remember hearing that my brother would have been named “George,” but he wasn’t a man you would name a child after.
THIS, is my personal testimony to say that George was a man who many thought was a hero. Just the kind of man you name a child after.
George Ronald Slighte enlisted in the United State’s Army Infantry five days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
He was born in Port Hope, Ontario, to Thomas and Margaret Slighte (Nana and Papa Slighte to me). The family moved to California when he and his two older brothers Thomas and Ray where children.
This “short little Canadian” was VERY passionate about his adopted country.
He met my grandmother, Margaret Florence Clara Foley, while in high school.
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was bombed on December 7, 1941. It took George only five days to get his affairs in order, and sign up to serve his country.
While he went to war, my grandmother awaited his return.
George was paralyzed from an injury incurred at the hands of a Japanese rifle butt to the back of his head in New Guinea. Four Natives carried him for 8 days over the Owen Stanley Mountains to safety.
He spent three months in a hospital in Australia before being returned to the states where he spent more time in a hospital in San Diego before being released to his wife.
My father, Ronald George Slighte was born February 8, 1945, his younger sister was born in February 1947.
By June 1949, the horrendous pain from his head injury and the horrors of PTSD finally got the better of him.
He gave his watch to my four-year old father, closed the door to his home office, and removed the offending object with his service revolver.
That last part was the only thing I had known about my grandfather when I was a child.
They could have left that part out, it was the part that has injured the delicate sensibilities of many in our family for generations.
George R. Slighte was a war hero. He was injured horribly, both physically and psychologically, in World War II. Four New Guinea natives carried him for EIGHT days so that he may see his dear family again. When he returned to the states, my father then my aunt, were conceived.
Without those four men, who the records tell me were called “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels” by our army, who carried my grandfather to safety, my grandchildren and so many people who I love, including me, wouldn’t be here.
Thank God for Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.
Thank God also for distant cousins.
After I sent out an inquiring email to a distant cousin who had posted part of our family tree online; I was rewarded and blessed with emails and photos of the family I had never seen.
Thanks to my cousin Kathy, here is a photo of my grandfather, George Ronald Slighte, my grandmother, Margaret Florence Clara Slighte (nee Foley), his mother, my great-grandma “Nana” (“Maggie”) Margaret Thornhill Slighte (nee Walsh) and his father, my great-grandfather, Thomas A. Slighte