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A sense of duty during wartime service

By Brandon Fey

Northeast Times

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June 2024 marked 80 years since the iconic D-Day invasion that definitively accelerated the Allied victory in the Second World War. In light of this anniversary, we are reminded of the immense service and sacrifice of those who contributed to the defense of our nation in the greatest conflict ever fought.

Marvin Siegler – a resident of the Delaware Valley Veterans Home – is one of the millions of Americans whose lives were impacted by the Second World War. Siegler is originally from Utica, New York, where, in 1943 he found himself as a 17-year-old high school student with a low draft number. Knowing that he would inevitably be called to the service, Siegler preemptively volunteered to join the Hospital corpsmen, who were enlisted medical specialists in the U.S. Navy. With the approval of his father and the forged signature of his mother, Siegler began his role in the Second World War.

Following his enlistment, Siegler was sent to Naval Station Great Lakes for basic training. While there, he trained in the study of biology and chemistry in preparation for his duties. He was then sent to San Diego, where he was initially going to be sent to join the war effort in the South Pacific.

Siegler reflected on his thoughts as a young serviceman considering the reality of being sent to war.

“At first, you’re nervous; but then when you speak to some of the other members of the group, that satisfies your nerves,” he said. “Many of them were older than me, and I learned from them.”

Due to a sudden fire aboard the aircraft carrier that was supposed to carry him across the Pacific Ocean, Siegler was instead sent to The Navy Annex in Arlington, Virginia. He recalls that while stationed there, his window was positioned in direct view of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

While at Arlington, Siegler cared for soldiers who had returned to the U.S. from the frontlines. He had majored in biology in high school and proved his abilities in medicine as he tended to many soldiers’ eyes during this time. By the end of the war, he was discharged to Washington, D.C., and in 1946, ended his time as a corpsman.

Following his years in the service, Siegler worked as a shoe salesman at a Hess’s department store back in Utica. After two years, he saw a newspaper advertisement calling for an assistant manager at Wagner Shoes. Siegler worked in this position for a year and a half, until he purchased the business from its owner.

While working at Wagner Shoes, Siegler met his wife, the future Roslyn Siegler. He clearly remembers the details of the time they first met.

“I remember I sold her a pair of red high-heel platform shoes with snakeskin ankle straps,” he recalled.

He and his wife were married for 73 years until her passing last year.

Siegler ran his store until he retired at the age of 82. Following his retirement, he moved to the Delaware Valley Veterans Home on Southampton Road, not far from one of his two daughters, Bonnie, who had built a house with her husband in Fairmount.

Marvin Siegler continues to speak about his service with profound humility and reverence. His sense of duty and fidelity remains an inspiring example of the unequaled virtue that claimed victory in World War II. ••

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