A Day to Remember on Westport Island
Thank you to all who serve
Westport Island, though small, has a large history of serving its country — dating back to the Revolutionary War.
Maybe noticed, maybe not, one Islander “who served” greets us when we vote and when we gather to celebrate, discuss and come together as neighbors. A flag and a photograph remember him: Donald Knight. Honored by his parents, Knight is memorialized by both a photograph and a blue star flag at the front of the Town Hall.
Blue star flags, the “War Mother’s Flags”, became an unofficial symbol of a child in the service in WWI. During WWI and WWII, many of the flags were hand made by mothers across the nation symbolizing the service of a child. The Service flag was also displayed by organizations — like our town — to honor members serving during a period of war or hostilities. Today, we recognize Donald Knight for his service in WWII as the poster child for those who have served their country…
A newspaper obituary of Donald Knight provides the following context for our Town Hall remembrance…
Donald F. Knight, “Bunker Hill” Casualty, Was Machine Shop’s Second War Fatality
Donald Francis Knight, M.M. 2/c, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lester H. Knight of Bath, was killed in action in the Pacific, when the carrier on which he was serving was bombed by the Japs on May 11, according to word received by his parents from the Navy Department. Donald was buried at sea on May 12, with full military honors.
Donald, who was a B.I.W. machinist, and the Machine Shop’s second fatal casualty, had taken part in 12 major battles before he was home on leave last January, and had been to Saipan, Link, Leyte, Negros, Wake, New Hebrides, Rabaul, Tarawa, Kavieng, Kuajalein, Guam, Peleliu, etc.
He was inducted into the U.S. Naval Reserve June 21, 1943, and after receiving boot training at Newport, R.I., he was assigned to an aircraft carrier and left for overseas on Sept. 3, 1943.
Besides his parents, he leaves a daughter, Donna Larraine, who was one year old on May 26, and who lives with her grandparents.
Donald Knight’s parents were Lester and Marcia White Knight. Lester Knight grew up on Westport. Although Donald was born in Bath, he married Mary Jane Greenleaf of Westport. Based on the donation of the photograph, the flag and Donald’s military name and rank tags to the Town of Westport Island, it is clear that the family’s psychological home was on the Island. We are proud to call them ours.
On this Memorial Day, thank you Donald Knight and to all who have served and to those who now serve…