Donald F. Maxwell
Private First Class, U.S. Army
358th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division
Entered the Service from: Nebraska
Buried at: Plot F Row 16 Grave 38
Normandy American Cemetery
Awards: Purple Heart
Storming ashore upon Omaha Beach, Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944, Don Maxwell was severely wounded and died six days later.
When notified the family was asked what they wanted done with his earthly remains. “Leave him be,” they must have replied since he was buried in a cemetery created in France for fallen American soldiers.
The family seldom mentioned the brother of my Mother’s father. I never understood why he was so rarely mentioned.
From a small rural Nebraska town, the product of poor working-class folks, Don Maxwell is not mentioned in any published books that I am aware of. Buried deep within a government storage vault among a mass of other records is his very brief “story” told in an “official” way.
That record, his headstone and one mention upon a government Web site listing the internments within that cemetery in France is all that exists of the memory of a life taken while obeying the call to duty.
Well, those and the memory of a very few people, most reaching advanced age and who will be passing on themselves in the not-too-distant future.
Few of the kinfolk of my generation give a damn. And my generation’s offspring care even less.
That’s only natural and to be expected.
Still, that thought saddens me.
I was born a decade after Don Maxwell left us; thus I never knew him. I sought as much information about him as I could after learning about his existence in my younger years but the tight-lipped kin revealed little.
Never could figure out why. Made no sense to me.
It’s not that the kinfolk are anti-military.
Uncle Jim and his brother, my Dad, were World War Two Pacific Theater Marines. Uncle Jim was called back for Korea where he confronted the “human wave” tactics of the ChiComs at the Frozen Chosin.
Various other relatives were in the military at various times though few of us from my generation (the Baby Boomers) onwards entered the military.
I want to place the memory of one of MANY fallen American’s name in one more spot upon the world.
Rest in peace Donald Maxwell. You were fighting for a just cause.