Memorial Day Archives - StoryCorps

Remembering A Marine Who, After Serving His Country, Put Serving Veterans First

After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, Marine Corporal Josh Dunne worked as an advocate for veterans seeking higher education. He even went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in social work from New Mexico State University, graduating on the same day as his wife, Melanie Dunne.

Photo: Marine Corporal Josh Dunne in his service photo. Courtesy of Melanie Dunne.

Still, he faced his own internal struggles following a service-related traumatic brain injury and severe PTSD. In 2016, while experiencing a mental health crisis, Josh died in an officer-involved shooting.

In 2020, Melanie came to StoryCorps with her sister, Marissa Miranda, to remember what Josh meant to their family and his fellow veterans.

Photo: Melanie Dunne and Marissa Miranda at their StoryCorps interview in Las Cruces, NM on March 13, 2020. By Zazil Davis-Vazquez for StoryCorps.
Top Photo: Melanie Dunne and her husband, Josh, at their graduation from New Mexico State, University. Courtesy of Melanie Dunne.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and you need immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or go here for online chat.

Originally aired May 29, 2021, on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

This interview was recorded in partnership with KRWG as part of StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative.

‘I’m Honoring His Life, Not How He Died’: After Losing Her Father to COVID-19, A Daughter Reflects On His WWII Service

Army Staff Sergeant Emilio “Leo” DiPalma was drafted at age 18 to join World War II. He fought on the front lines in Germany until the end of the war, and went on to serve as a guard during the first Nuremberg trials where he guarded infamous Nazi soldiers such as Hermann Göring.

His daughter Emily was close to her dad growing up, but after moving away and starting a family they had started to grow apart. They reconnected around Memorial Day in 2000, after Emily planned a trip to take her father back to Germany for the first time since WWII.

But as Leo aged, he developed dementia and other health issues. Following his wife’s death, his daughters decided it would be best to move him to the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

On April 8, 2020, Leo was the 28th veteran at that home to die of complications due to COVID-19. He was 93 years old. Unable to have a funeral due to the pandemic, Emily recorded this memorial of her father with her daughter, Hannah Sibley-Liddle, using StoryCorps Connect.

Photo: Hannah Sibley-Liddle (left), Staff Sgt. Emilio Di Palma (middle), and Emily Aho (right) on a trip to the White House where Emilio was honored with the Legacy of Nuremberg Award. Courtesy of Emily Aho.
Top Photo: Staff Sgt. Emilio Di Palma, far right, on guard at the Nuremberg Trials in 1945. Courtesy of Emily Aho.

Originally aired May 22, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition.