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52 Ancestors, No. 31: Charles J. Butera, Tribute to A Fallen Soldier

May 28, 2018

CharlesButera

I’ve let my 52 Ancestors series lapse. Hard to believe I left off four whole years ago, but here we are. I ought to pick it up again. I’ve received messages from at least three distant relatives who contacted me after finding mutual relatives on my blog. There is a reason they call it cousin bait. 😀

The most recent relatives to make contact were descendants of my great-grandaunt, Angeline Butera. They contacted me earlier this spring. We exchanged photos, and stories, but my work for the School District soon demanded my full attention. I haven’t written them in a while, so I thought I’d write a post for them to let them know I’m still thinking of them, and I look forward to possibly meeting them next summer, when I ride out to Allegheny County.

Since today is Memorial Day, 2018, I want to write a post honoring a fallen soldier. Having recently rediscovered this image of young Charles J. Butera, I thought it would be appropriate to share.

I don’t yet know much about young Charles. He was a cousin of my maternal grandmother, and about a month younger. Charles’s mother, Angeline (Scaletta) Butera, was the older sister of my grandmother’s father, Antonino Scaletti. A Pittsburgh Press obituary dated December 18, 1947 indicates that Charles was killed in Bulgaria three years earlier, during the Battle of the Bulge. I’ve calculated his age at death to be 18 years, 10 months, and 13 days. I don’t yet have anything like a yearbook entry for Charles that would shed light on his personality and interest. He was never married to my knowledge, but from picture he seemed vibrant and looking forward to a bright future.

It’s amazing how young these men were when they waged war. What was I doing when  I was 18? I had just graduated high school, and was washing dishes in a restaurant, hanging out down Wildwood in the evenings, listening to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin records. I can’t even imagine being sent off to war, at my age or any other.

Though Charles J. Butera breathed his last over 74 years ago, we remember him today, along with thousands of others who went off to war and would never return. Charles’s Find-A-Grave memorial shows his final resting place at Holy Souls Cemetery in Robinson Township, just west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I hope to visit there next summer. Special thanks to my Great Uncle Bob, who brought this mass card with him from California to the East Coast when he visited some six years ago. The mass card is in English and Italian. Google Translate has us covered. The card reads, from the top:

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Continuing below the flag:

PRAYER

O Dear Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed by the flame of love for those suffering in Purgatory, have mercy on the departed soul.

Do not be stern with Your Judgment, but let a few drops of Your Precious Blood fall on the devouring flames. With Your clemency, O Most Merciful Savior, send the Angels to lead the departed soul to a place of Enjoyment, of Light, of peace. Amen.

The front of the mass card shows a portrait of the Virgin Mary:

CharlesButera2

 

Many thanks also to my Butera cousins Mary Ann and Renee, for reaching out to me and for inspiring me to explore my Scaletti and Butera ancestors further this spring.

 

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