I was in no hurry, so I sat for about an hour and simply watched the line grow.
This was a man who was loved and I know why. He was a good man.
Sitting beside me at the funeral was my friend Claudius Joseph, himself a survivor of a US Navy disaster, the explosion on the gun turret of the USS Iowa and a friend too, of Mr. Wilcox. Claude was on duty that day and had been relieved of his place in the turret minutes before the explosion.
Mr. Wilcox’s shipmate, bugle master Glenn Morgan blew “Taps” and I know that was very difficult for him. Claude and I sat in silence through-out the funeral feeling a sense of deep loss. My own father had passed just days before and he too was a WWII Navy Veteran. I had delighted in introducing Mr. Wilcox to my Dad and vice versa at my own son’s military funeral last year.
It’s been a rough couple of years for us Vets and sending Mr. Wilcox off to sea along with my Dad made me see my own mortality that much more. One by one, our WWII Vets are leaving us and the saddest thing of all is the almost total lack of fanfare most of them receive, Mr. Wilcox included. In his case, two lone enlisted-grade sailors folded a flag for him and then marched away. He should have been sent off by officer-grade sailors at the very least, but that may not have followed military protocol, I realize, but just the same. Sometimes, the rules should be ignored and this was one of those times.
Both Claude and I were dismayed at the small amount of pomp and circumstance offered by his country and the US Navy. The man received precious little at the end for the service he endured and the great educational effort he performed in the community to keep the memory of the USS Indianapolis alive for Veterans and future generations.
We can do better than this and the man certainly deserved it. His funeral should have filled an auditorium instead of the 150 who attended and most of them should have been active and retired military and Veterans.
My name is Sara and I recently came across your article about USS Indianapolis survivor Linsey WIlcox, or Zeb, as I came to know him.
I have been working with the survivors of the organization for many years to tell their story. Recently, I've put together a documentary; which I'm proud to say has been chosen as an official selection at the upcoming GI Film Festival in Washington DC. Zeb was one of the 104 people we interviewed for this project.
The reason I'm contacting you is because I'm also putting together information on Zeb's life after the war. I have some information about the time he met and spent with Captain McVay, but I was hoping he spoke to you more about this in his final days, and that you could share any information with me about it. Any notes or details you might have in this respect would be greatly appreciated. I'm doing my very best to keep the Indianapolis legacy alive, and thank you, in advance, for any assistance you may be able to help me with.
And just in case you're interested, here's a link to our trailer.
All the best,