Malacky Horan

Memorial Day is a day that makes Americans feel very proud and profoundly sad at the same time. It is our day to pause and reflect on those we have lost, who have served and given their lives in the service of our county and its people.

I remember Uncle Malacky.

Malacky Horan was a young man originally from Newfoundland, who had beautiful eyes and a wonderful smile. We know he was tall and handsome by the family portrait we have inherited. He was a proud Chief Engineer in the Merchant Marines.

Malacky Horan’s service to our country ended one day during World War II, when his ship was torpedoed. He ferried the wounded back and forth until he, too, was lost. He kept a journal, which survived and has been passed down in our family, but we know him clearly through the memories of his favorite sister, Winifred.

Winifred told stories of Malacky’s youth, one of nine siblings. She smiled when she told the story of him helping her to dress up as a boy and go to town. He introduced Winifred as a visiting cousin and the ruse worked well in a time where boys got to do everything.

She remembered his pride in his career as an engineer and his devotion to God, country, family and community.

Her special brother was a source of special love, and the immense sorrow of his loss lasted her lifetime.

Now, several generations later, we remember Uncle Malacky because of the memories of Winifred. He’s been gone more than 70 years.

Having never gotten the chance to marry and without the opportunity of having children, we feel duty-bound to make sure his memory in our family never fades.

We are deeply determined that time will not erase the sacrifice he made for us all, and we will pass down the stories to each generation onwards.

On Memorial Day we will miss him, even though we never met him.

Thank you for your service, Uncle Malacky.

— Maria Ferreras is a longtime St. Thomas resident and community volunteer. She can be reached at maria@dailynews.vi.