In Memory of
Donald R. Ackerman
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
February 15, 1922 --March 30, 1946
Died of Illness En Route Home
Donald R. Ackerman was born
on February 15, 1922 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He was born the second of
what eventually would be eleven children to John M. and Margaret E. Ackerman.
Before Donald graduated at Washington High School, the Ackerman family moved to
Nebraska for a time then back to Sioux Falls. The whole Ackerman family lived
at 1910 E. 7th Street.
One of Donald's sisters
provided information about his life. Although Jane Ackerman was very young when
Donald left home, her mind remembers Donald as a kind and caring person who was
very proud to wear the uniform of the United States Army. Donald had entered
the Army directly after high school.
Immediately after basic
training, Donald came back to Sioux Falls and then shortly after wards, went
overseas. That was the last time he was home. Donald was deployed to Germany.
His division was one that always went ahead to scope out the enemy. He would
then notify the rest of the soldiers so they could attack the correct spot. This
was Donald's responsibility throughout the war. He made it through the war
despite all the struggles and battles. Shortly before the war ended, Donald
began to work in an area for entertaining the soldiers. Instead of going home
right away, Donald was asked to stay in Germany for a short time to run the old
movie projector (he was the only one who knew how to run it). He made the
choice to stay for the sake of the troops.
On April 2, 1946 the
parents of Donald R. Ackerman received the following telegram:
Secretary of War has asked me to express his deep regret that your son
Corporal Ackerman , Donald R. died in Germany 30 March 1946 as a result of a
laryngeal obstruction. Edward F. Witsell, the Adjutant General of the Army.
Donald had died of a throat
infection on the train headed home to see his family. John and Margaret then
received a letter confirming Donald's death.
On September 30, 1946,
another letter arrived stating that Donald was coming home; for the first time
in a long time. The entire Ackerman family went to meet Donald at the railroad
station. He arrived in a beautiful casket draped with an even more beautiful
American flag. Donald's remains were buried at Woodlawn Cemetery. He currently
lies there with his parents and two brothers.
Jane Ackerman-Davis, the
sister of Donald, recently received a box that has been passed around the family
since the death of her parents. Jane remembers:
the box and the first thing I saw was the telegram that my parents received
when Donald died. I had such a rush of sadness that I closed the box up.
She is now putting all
information into a memory book to preserve for future generations to share.
Jane Ackerman's words express the feelings of so many people toward World War
II. When thinking of it, there is such a rush of sadness. Although sadness is
the first feeling we express when dealing with the war, an overwhelming feeling
of gratitude to those who gave their lives for us surfaces. If it weren't for
the thousands of brave soldiers who put their lives on the line, American would
not be the country it is today. We, as Americans, are eternally grateful.
This entry was submitted by
Kelli Jamison and Lindsey Bain , 11th grade, Roosevelt High School, Sioux Falls,
South Dakota, April 18, 2002. Information for this entry was provided by Mrs.
Lois Jane Ackerman-Davis, Punta Gorda, Florida, sister of Army Corporal Donald