Robert E. Kenneally, along
with his brothers, served on the USS Harry Lee during the war. Robert passed away in 1990.
Last year on Veteran's Day, the Charlestown (Mass) Historical Society
put together a tribute at the Charlestown Navy Yard to honor Charlestown
natives who served in the armed forces during WWII.
Robert's daughter, Pat, had just completed
writing a song about her mother, father and older brother and their
experiences during the war. She recorded the song as a single to have
available for the exhibit.
Robert and his six brothers were featured
prominently in the exhibit in a section called "A Band of Brothers". All
seven brothers served in the Navy and fortunately all returned home safely.
The title of the song is Hang A Blue Star in the Window. It was a
custom (and still is) to display a blue star on a white background with a red
border for each family member serving in the armed forces.
Below are the words to the song by Robert's daughter, Pat.
Hang a Blue Star in the Window
Music & Lyrics © Patricia Kenneally
It was her laugh, the way she walked, caught his eye, stole his heart.
A kind and gentle manner endeared him from the start.
The twenty miles from Charlestown, his old Ford could barely make.
They’d picnic down by Willard Brook; go dancing at the lake.
A second floor apartment in a gray two-family house.
Tomatoes in the backyard, on the sleeping porch a couch.
Working for the railroad, washing cars for steady pay.
A call to active duty and a baby on the way.
Hang a blue star in the window.
Say a prayer he’ll be coming home.
Tend the garden early in the morning.
Read his letters in the evening when alone.
They broke up house and she moved back to Lowell with her folks.
On the transport Harry Lee, he stowed his gear and was shipped out.
Brief visits into Norfolk, maybe once or twice a year;
Too few, but just enough to keep away a young son’s fear.
Memories still linger with that young son now a man.
Neighbors spilling from their homes, grabbing pots and pans;
To bang in joyous revelry, the war was finally won.
At last the troops were coming home, a father to his son.
Seven brothers in the Navy, all returned to family.
Gathered in the kitchen, bell bottoms pressed so carefully.
Standing straight and small, amidst those uncles dressed alike;
Not sure it was his father’s hand he took to hold on tight.