A salute to the veterans and active members of the military on Memorial Day and to my father-in-law, James Gagliano, who served in Korean War with his twin brother, Joseph, now deceased. James, nearly 82, still has the typewriter he used as a journalist during the war.
The Yankees had heroes well beyond the playing field. Jerry Coleman flew 57 missions in World War II and added 63 in Korea. He also managed to squeeze in baseball. He was in the running for rookie of the year in 1949 (he finished third) but made the All-Star team in 1950. Teammate Hank Bauer was in World War II and won two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.
Joe DiMaggio served in the Army during World War II, as David Jones observed in his book ``Joe DiMaggio: a biography.’’
Jones wrote, ``Though he never came within a thousand miles of actual combat, DiMaggio resented the war with an intensity equal to the most battle-scarred privates. It had robbed him of the best years of his career. When he went into the Army, DiMaggio had been a 28-year-old superstar, still at the height of his athletic powers. By the time he was discharged from service, he was nearly 31, divorced, underweight, malnourished and bitter. Those three years, 1943 to 1945, would carve a gaping hole in DiMaggio’s career totals, creating an absence that would be felt like a missing limb.’’