A Real Life 'Private Ryan'
Albert Dies, But Carmen Is Sent Overseas
Carmen Dies, But Two Sons Remain In Combat
Bernard Dies And Anthony Returns Home
Condolences From The War Department
"Saving Private Ryan," director Steven Spielberg's World War II drama, is the fictional account of the rescue of an enlisted man after three of his brothers die in the European theater. The movie has evoked painful memories of how the war shattered families and left parents to watch helplessly as, in some cases, their sons died one by one.
In Lawrence, Massachusetts, "Private Ryan" has been a poignant reminder of the plight of the four Campagnone brothers. Albert, 21,died in Germany around Christmas 1944. Carmen, 18, was blown apart by a minefield in the Rhinelands in March 1945. The following month,Bernard, 32, died in Holland when a German plane bombed his truck.
In four short months, Mary and Stephen Campagnone saw the war claim three of their four sons. As each son died, the Campagnones, aided by Representative Thomas J. Lane, asked the Army to keep their remaining sons off the battlefield. The couple's requests were turned down by Army brass, since military policy provided that a soldier would stay in the U.S. if he was his family's sole surviving son. Only after Bernard was killed did the Army return Private Anthony Campagnone to his parents.
Today, the Lawrence common is named after the Campagnone brothers and a memorial stands in their honor. We think these documents also serve as a tribute to one family's heroism and heartache. Provided to us by Stephen C. Campagnone, Anthony's son, these 1945 letters and telegrams detail efforts by the Campagnones and Lane to stem the family's casualties.
Albert Dies, But Carmen Is Sent Overseas (2 pages)
Bernard Dies And Anthony Returns Home (3 pages)
Condolences From The War Department (1 page)