Whether it was trips to Normandy, France or Italy, Callahan was often drawn to the stark beauty of American cemeteries.
The impeccable grounds.
The insightful mosaics.
And the perfectly aligned rows of white burial markers.
This was the impetus of a 10-year journey in creating his book, “Brothers in Arms: Remembering Brothers Buried Side by Side in American World War II Cemeteries.”
The book is available at online booksellers and a book tour is planned for later this year.
The book tells the stories of 70 sets of brothers, all who died during World War II, and are buried near each other.
Two of the brothers featured are Macedonio and Jose Duran, of San Felipe Pueblo. Both went off to fight in the war and never returned.
Callahan traveled to San Felipe Pueblo on Nov. 3, 2018, a day after the family celebrated All Soul’s Day.
“I met with Eileen Cimarron, she’s a niece of the brothers,” Callahan says. “It was an incredible experience because after searching for so long, I had found living relatives who would talk about their family.”
Macedonio Duran was the second youngest son, born in 1916.
His 1942 U.S. Army enlistment form states that he had a grammar school education and was employed as a farm laborer. He served as a private first class in the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.
His 16th Infantry served in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, from the Kasserine Pass in North Africa to the Hürtgen Forest in Germany.
Macedonio survived all of those battles, but died of unknown causes on August 15, 1945, some four months after the war in Europe ended.
Jose Duran, the youngest brother, was born in 1921, five years after Macedonio, and may have benefited from the opening of a day school in the pueblo.
His draft card states that at the age of 21, he was attending the Albuquerque Indian School, which was a boarding school for Native American youth run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
He and Macedonio were the same height and weight: 5 feet 8 inches, 145 pounds.
Jose served as a sergeant in the 2nd Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division, a key component of George S. Patton’s Third Army. Jose was killed on January 18, 1945, during a crossing of the Sauer River in Luxembourg.
“It’s a book about the war and it’s about family and loss,” Callahan says. “It’s 75 years later. I read a lot of World War II history books. Reading these books, it seems like ancient history. When you interview these families, it’s like the war happened yesterday. They remember what it was like to lose them. It seems like a long time ago, but the wounds are still there.”