Jorma Sr. and Pentti

Jorma Sr. and Pentti

Portraits by my Dad, Jorma Sr.

Tarmo Kaukonen in Italy, WWII

Tarmo Kaukonen in Italy, WWII

Photographer unknown

On Memorial Day as the Kaukonens try their best to honor our fallen I usually default to fotos of my dad and his two brothers. Uncle Tarmo survived North Africa and Italy to die in a VA hospital in 1945 from lung cancer. Pentti never really came back from the Pacific and died quite young in a VA hospital in Northern California. My Dad, Jorma Sr. was fortunate to have lived a decently full life. For the three Kaukonen boys, serving in WWII was of paramount importance to their identity as first generation Americans… that’s just how it was.

Memorial Day was yesterday and indeed it was plain to me that as we enjoyed a beautiful day in the country that we owed it all to members of our Armed Forces! A debt to all those brave men and women that can never be repaid. fired up my bike and took a ride around the county and when I came to the site of the Buffington Island Skirmish where Union forces won that battle in 1863.

Buffington Island Skirmish today...

Buffington Island Skirmish today...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

For a moment I found myself wrapped in history.

Talking to my friend Chuck out in California yesterday (himself a Vietnam Vet) he pointed out that our fallen lost two lives… the one they had, and the one they never got to live.

Honor Memorial Day!


  1. Comment made on July 18, 2019 by Mike Copeland

    Memorial Day is always special to Jenny and I. It is impossible to describe the debt we owe to those that sacrificed all so that we may carry on. Thanx Jorma.

  2. Comment made on May 31, 2019 by Jim Bacon

    Well said, the New Paltz vets always observe Memorial Day on the 30th so last night we had the parade where Butchy used to have Levon ride in the head car with a gold star mother – It rained but that was ok, and Butchy was in the lead car with a vet – Remembering when I was a kid seeing a few WWI vets walking together, a whole bunch of WWII vets then the Korean vets and finally the Viet Nam soldiers, everyone wearing their uniforms – the WWI vets were happy to be there, the WWII guys were all good natured as was the Korean vets but the poor Viet Nam guys had altogether different looks on their faces even being so much younger – as you say – two lives are lost – well, we do our best to honor them all –

  3. Comment made on May 30, 2019 by eaglesteve

    My wife is from Naples, Italy.
    My Dalmation was named Jorma. RIP.
    One of my current dogs is named Jack; the other Brooklyn; both pit bull mixes.

  4. Comment made on May 30, 2019 by johno

    My cousin lives in Naples Florida. His daughter had a baby last week. Her last name is Bass. It was a healthy little boy. They named him Jack Casady. So his grandson’s name is Jack Casady Bass. In homage to Jack.

  5. Comment made on May 30, 2019 by eaglesteve

    Johno got it right. On 5/8/19, early that morning (somewhere out on the line), I posted a tribute to BLK, with a RIP salutation. I was asked who that was, and typed in Jorma’s Mom, That last never posted, not that I saw anyway, and I supposed because it was taken as too personal. There you have it. Mystery solved.

    And just because…..

    This past Tuesday, 5/28/19, was Papa John’s birthday, born in 1917, so he would have been 102 years old that day. RIP Papa. We miss you and your sound.

  6. Comment made on May 30, 2019 by Richard

    The mystery solved..I now remember from prior posts Jormas Moms name..Another coincidence,my wifes name is Beatrice too…thanks johno..

  7. Comment made on May 29, 2019 by johno

    Usually eaglesteve does his RIP thing.
    My guess BLK was Beatrice Love Kaukonen. Jorma’s mom.
    This is turning into a mystery.
    Who is BLK?

  8. Comment made on May 29, 2019 by Richard

    Jorma :
    what do you mean ‘not allowed?’

    Thanks Jorma..It was to strange a coincidence that eaglesteve posted RIP BLK on my sons birthday this past May 8..And being his initials were the same I just wanted to know..You at the time sent me a nice condolence,must appreciated..Almost 6 years ago now…

  9. Comment made on May 29, 2019 by Greg martelli

    We should honor them as we are indebted to them for these unique freedoms we enjoy.
    Long may they run

  10. Comment made on May 29, 2019 by eaglesteve

    Rich: I tried. It was not allowed, I assume, because it did not post.
    ‘nuf said

  11. Comment made on May 28, 2019 by mark k

    Lets not forget the Military families, children, relatives and friends who also lost the lives they could have and should have had if not for the sacrifice’s of their men and women who gave their lives, their physical, mental health and wellbeing in service to our country, especially in the age of the all volunteer military. My family was fortunate, my Father served in WW2 and survived some close calls in the Army Air Corps in England and then was a part of history, witnessing the Trinity Test in New Mexico. Conversely a cousin not so lucky who lost his life in Vietnam 1968 and a close friends Father who lived in blindness due to loosing both eyes fighting in Italy. I also think of a client I had when working as an addiction counselor in 2014 who was a West Point graduate, special forces soldier who fought in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, a real life GI Joe for 22 years who neither drank or did any recreational drugs and after being grievously wounded by a roadside bomb was in rehab in Army hospitals for over a year, became a Morphine addict who was taught by his military doctors how to melt Oxycodone and shoot it up and then finally given a Military discharge a handshake, a thank you for your service and then dumped in the streets of Staten Island. I wished he had a happier ending, which he certainly deserved but after all it was no surprised he ended up in the street dead of an overdose. I wish his story was rare, but this country has failed in providing for the well being of those who have sacrificed so much for so many. Living in North East PA, Donna and I meet a lot of now elderly Veterans some still from WW2, but most from Korea and Vietnam as well as younger Veterans from our more recent wars. We always thank them for their service which some seem surprised by. This country as a whole should do better.

  12. Comment made on May 28, 2019 by Richard

    eaglesteve :
    Perfect, as usual, on Memorial Day Captain. America honored our fallen men and women heros, and that’s as it should be. We owe a debt that can never be repaid.

    Shout out to Eagle Steve..Please tell me who BLK was in a post you made a few weeks back..Thanks..

  13. Comment made on May 28, 2019 by HOGAN


    Thank you for always remembering our fallen and those men and women who are serving our great country…


  14. Comment made on May 28, 2019 by eaglesteve

    Perfect, as usual, on Memorial Day Captain. America honored our fallen men and women heros, and that’s as it should be. We owe a debt that can never be repaid.

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