A brand new flagpole was recently erected at Karaniewski Memorial Playground located on Concord Street in Detroit. The park is a bright spot in a neighborhood where overgrown vacant lots outnumber a handful of hearty neighbors. This sweet little oasis features a basketball court, bench, intact fencing and newer playground equipment. It is well tended and lovingly cared for by the Darina / Karaniewski clan and represents dedication, pride, patriotism and a lingering, familial loss.
The Karaniewski family was comprised of a band of brothers called to service in World War II. Stanley, the eldest son served with the 82nd Airborne Division in Germany, France, Italy and Yugoslavia. Additionally, he trained and served in military intelligence. Marian [fondly known as Marvin to the family] was the second oldest, yet the first to serve on the battlefield. Marian saw action as a mortar man within the Army 103rd Infantry Regiment, 43rd Infantry Division. Service took him throughout the South Pacific – – Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, New Guinea and New Caledonia. The younger siblings – Eugene and Cass [Casmire] served in the Army Air Corps and the Navy, respectively.
Lost in the War
On January 19, 1945 Marian’s unit was attacked by Japanese forces on the Island of Luzon near Hill 66. It would be his last campaign. He courageously volunteered to stay behind and to hold back the Japanese while his unit retreated. Marian was struck and killed by a sniper’s shot as he operated his mortar. His family notes that he carried a small bible in his breast pocket and the fatal bullet struck the bible before entering his chest.
For his supreme sacrifice, Marian was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals posthumously. He rests with his buddies in the Manila Military Cemetery in the Philippines. Photos used by kind permission of the Ghezzi / Karaniewski family. Copyright 2014 Andrea Gallucci.