In Memory of
Army Corporal
Donald R. Ackerman
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Minnehaha County
February 15, 1922 --March 30, 1946
Died of Illness En Route Home
 
Donald R. Ackerman
 

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:

The 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:

I opened 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 R. Ackerman