All Wars Memorial & Service Roll
Maple Rapids Park
Maple Rapids, Clinton County, Michigan
"In memory and gratitude to the men and women of our community,
their time and lives in the service of our country"
Maple Rapids is a small town, first established as a trading post around 1826 by George Campau. Ironically, the original indian village here was one of the largest in the entire state when Campau arrived, About 300 natives encamped along the banks of two small rivers. Within 25 years all of the natives had been moved from their ancestral lands to reservations. Another, much newer, memorial here honors the first native residents and the pioneer families that displaced them.
This marker is the anchor point of a small park. It is one of the few veterans memorials that specifically mention the sacrifice of time by the veteran. Most citizens usually don't think of military service in this way, but it's true that aside from life itself, time is our most precious possession. Time lost to service can't ever be reclaimed or redeemed. The weeks, months, or even years that service takes from us may be a great adventure. But for those that never intended the military as a career it is an interruption that alters our future in endless indeterminate ways.
The memorial does not indicate the era(s) of service for these citizens, but it is likely most of them are all from World War II.
One of those killed during WW II was PFC Milton Barrett, USMC. He was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) when it was supporting the attack and invasion of Okinawa.
Two Japanese aircraft crashed into the deck of Bunker Hill during a "Kamikaze" attack on May 11, 1945. The ensuing fires and internal explosions killed nearly 400 shipmates and another 200 were wounded. Notifications were sent out to the families, but no details were released until months later. All that could be written in the local newspapers was that a young man had died for his country, "in the South Pacific war zone."
Milton Barrett took his Oath on December 4, 1942 and was only 20 years old when he died.
A few weeks before Barrett was killed word came about 1st Lt Mayard Cowles, USAAF. He was flying a Republic P-47 on March 3, 1945, one of the 378th Fighter Squadron of the 362nd Fighter Group. He was shot down while the squadron was on a strafing and bombing sortie in Germany. He knew the war in Europe would end soon, but he couldn't know that he would not be alive to celebrate the event.
Not long after the war a new school was built at Maple Rapids. Eight rooms, modern, ready to educate the sons and daughters of those remembered by this memorial. Maynard's mother donated $10,000 to the school building fund, with the request that he be remembered at the school. A plaque was placed in the hallway to his memory. For the next three decades children walked by that plaque, some talking about school and others dreaming about the upcoming summer. Ocassionally a few would stop to read the inscription and wonder who Maynard Cowles was. He had been one of them, a small town kid with dreams of the next summer. A summer, that for Cowles, was never enjoyed.