Her ‘Band of Brothers’

By on November 6, 2019

Sister remembers her four brothers who served in World War II

Ida Buch Mahoney was just five years old when all four of her older brothers served in World War II.

“My own memories of that time are pretty vague. I was so young,” recalls Mahoney, who lives at Luther Acres with her husband Michael Mahoney.

It wasn’t until she was older that she fully realized the sacrifice that her brothers had made in both the Pacific and European theaters of World War II. It was unusual for four sons in one family to serve at the same time.

“The pride that I feel for my four brothers who gave of themselves so that we all can enjoy freedom and liberty, and also experience the pursuit of happiness, is insurmountable,” says Mahoney.

So, when she and her husband visited the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County a few weeks ago, she knew immediately that she wanted to honor the four veterans who had also served as her big brothers when she was a little girl.

“I decided right then that I wanted to purchase a brick for each of my brothers,” says Mahoney, who then asked her nephew to get in touch with Dave Kramer of the Veterans Honor Park to make arrangements.

In mid-October, the four bricks were installed in the park, marking a little sister’s tribute to Kenneth R. Buch, Clydeth R. “Bud” Buch, Douglas R. Buch, and Leon R. Buch. She visited the park a few days later to see the bricks for herself.

Ida Buch Mahoney with pictures of her four brothers who all served in World War II.

“I felt so proud of them,” she says fondly. “It is indeed an honor to be able to support the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County.”

The four bricks line the park with many other bricks that honor veterans. Each was inscribed with the names and dates of service during World War II. Kenneth Buch served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946. Clydeth “Bud” Buch served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. Douglas Buch served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. Leon Buch, the youngest, served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946.

At the park, Mahoney was touched by the design of the park. It stirred emotions of her brothers and all those who had served during World War II, and all the other wars in which veterans from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marines, and U.S.Coast Guard had served.

Mahoney doesn’t remember much about the years when her brothers served. She was very young and living in Voganville, near New Holland and Ephrata, with her beloved aunt and uncle. Her brothers were in their late teens and early 20s when they enlisted.

 

Kenneth Buch

 

Douglas Buch

Kenneth Buch

Leon Buch

When Ida Buch Mahoney and her husband visited the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County a few weeks ago, she knew immediately that she wanted to honor the four veterans who had also served as her big brothers when she was a little girl.

“I can recall that my family put together many packages to send to my brothers. The packages would be ready to be sent overseas with all kinds of cookies, snacks, warm clothing, and other things that had been requested,” says Mahoney. “And there were many letters sent and received.”

As a child, she just assumed everyone had brothers far away. She had no idea how far away and that they were in danger. Thankfully, all four returned home safely and lived long lives in Lancaster County. Like many veterans, they never spoke of their time during the war.

Mahoney now realizes that her brothers also never spoke about the great loss they faced when they were ages 13 to 17. The sons of Ida and Leon Buch, they were at school when their mother died after her baby daughter Ida was born in 1938.

“The brothers were all in school and came home to be told they had a new sister, but that their mother had died. They were totally heartbroken, totally devastated by the news,” says Mahoney, adding that her brothers finished the school year, but never returned to school.

She thinks they may have enlisted because of that grief. After they returned, they lived in Voganville, got married, had families, and were either self-employed or worked at local companies. It wasn’t until she was much older herself and moved back to Lancaster County, that she had the chance to get to know her brothers and their families better.

When she was a year old her father remarried, although she continued to live with her mother’s sister and husband, who had never had children of their own and regarded her as their own child. After finishing her graduate work at Syracuse University, Mahoney taught American and British Literature and was the librarian at Linden Hall. After moving to New Jersey, she worked for the

Toms River Schools as a media specialist for 26 years, and eight years for the Ocean County Library System. She met her husband, a New Jersey native, and the two retired to her roots in Lititz, where her grandparents had a farm.

“I feel happy to have my brothers remembered in the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County. I can sit there at the park and contemplate their service and remember the sacrifice and love they had for their country,” says Mahoney.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com. 

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