|Frank Zalot Jr.|
A "friendly invastion" of U.S. service people had come to New Zealand in 1942 to protect her against a possible Japanese invasion. In June of 1943 Zalot was part of a training mission off the Kapiti Coast of New Zealand. It was a mission that went horribly wrong. The landing craft that Zalot was on was being battered by a storm that brought with it gale-force winds. It ended up being capsized by a giant wave. Zalot and his comrades in all their gear were deposited into the icy waters.
Ten sailors drowned that night in an incident that was never much publicized. Zealot was pulled from the water by teachers who saw only his arm sticking out into the suddenly moonlit night. And for all those years that night tortured Zalot.
Then, a couple of years ago, Zalot's granddaughter went to work to find out what had been written about that dreadful night. There was little information out there and what there was, Zalot said, was mostly wrong. So he set down his rememberances about that night and sent them to Kapiti Coast Marine Trust. At last year's Memorial Day services the mayor, Jenny Rowan, read out the names of the dead for the first time.
That night, a world away in his small hometown in Massachusetts, Zalot went to bed, expecting his nightmare. But there was only silence.
This morning, having returned to New Zealand for this special service, Zalot told me, "It really wasn't their screams I was hearing. They were yelling, 'tell our story.' Now that they've heard their names read, I've not heard their screams again."
|A memorial to the U.S. sailors who lost their lives|
Finally, those who drowned have been formally remembered. And the screams in Zalot's head have been put to rest.