Staff Report for The Island Eye News
Island residents celebrated Veterans Day by remembering former residents who gave their lives for our country. Honored by Boy Scouts, veterans and community members, the following remembrances were read aloud at the ceremony that took place on Sunday, Nov. 11.
Alexander G. Izlar was working as an electrician on Isle of Palms when the draft began for the Great War. The 31-year old was of medium build with grey eyes and light brown hair. He registered for the draft on June 5, 1917 on Sullivan’s Island. Izlar was drafted later that year to the 105th Sanitary Train, the 120th Field Hospital, 30th Division.
On June 4th, 1918 Alexander Izlar saw the shoreline of the United States for the last time as he and hundreds of others headed for Europe. Izlar would celebrate the abrupt end of the war on Nov. 11. Unlike many of his brothers who would have celebrated in the lines, Izlar would have kept working on the wounded as units began to break down and prepare for the return home.
Working in medicine did not come without a cost, however. Izlar would have likely been exposed to serious, contagious illnesses. In February of 1919, Alexander Izlar died, waiting to come home. He died just 2 weeks before the 120th field hospital would board boats to come home.
Izlar’s family would have been asked to participate in the Gold Star Mother’s pilgrimages of the 1920s, but as he had no living female relatives, his father Thomas, time and time again, had to reply no. None of his family would be making the pilgrimage to see his resting place abroad.
Read by Marina Conner
Marion Keenan was born near this spot on Dec. 7, 1888. On Jan. 13, 1889, he was baptized in Stella Maris Church. A guide to Sullivan’s Island written 10 years before his birth refers to a store operated by his father, Daniel C. Keenan, as being near the church.
We can assume he enjoyed the pleasures of a boyhood growing up on Sullivan’s Island. At the early age of 5, Marion Keenan’s name appeared in the Charleston paper and the parish records.
It was in 1894 that the church had been remodeled after the great storm of 1893. Father Wright had obtained a bell. In the traditional rubrics, the blessing of the bells was like a Christening, including sponsors. Father Wright chose four sponsors, two of the oldest parishioners and two of the youngest, Marion Keenan being one of them.
By the time the US entered World War I, Marion was already in the army.
Marion died of pneumonia in France in Oct. 1918. Like so many, probably due to the 1918 flu pandemic that spread throughout military camps.
Here we are today, nearly 125 years later, tolling the same bell to remember him and all our war dead.
Read by Monsignor McInerny