About the Author: Adrian Pratt serves as a Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand.
Today Frank Zalot Jr. came back for the first time to the place he saw 10 of his shipmates drown on a dreadful day in 1943.
This Memorial Day the people of Kapiti Coast on the North Island of New Zealand unveiled a memorial to the 10 U.S. sailors who died during a training exercise while trying to come ashore on June 20, 1943. About 350 people, including Charge d’Affaires Marie Damour and a U.S. Marine Color guard, were there for the dedication of the memorial, sculptured into the shape of a landing craft, close to the waters where the tragedy occurred.
The story of the drowning only recently came to light. At last year’s Memorial Service, Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowland read out the names of the dead for the first time. A world away, in Massachusetts, that reading had a profound effect on Zalot.
“For 68 years I had this nightmare,” the still spritely… more »