The two things that longtime Evergreen Park volunteer
In what could be called the perfect symbol of her life, her love of Kenneth and the military were weaved together in the form of a unique wedding dress that was made out of a parachute.
When Rona left the Air Force in the 1949, she was given a parachute. Rona’s mother, Helen Reynolds, was a skilled seamstress and was able to take that parachute, made from yards of pure silk, and create Rona a breathtakingly, gorgeous wedding dress.
Nearly, 40 years later, on Jan. 1, 1988, Kenneth collapsed and later died from a massive heart attack while golfing with friends. While saddened by her husband’s death, Rona can’t help but to be grateful for all the years they spent together.
Kenneth’s experiences in the war are described in a book titled, “Backwards into Battle: A Tail Gunner’s Journey in World War II”by Andy Doty.
The national headquarters for The American Legion in Indianapolis is slated to keep Rona’s wedding dress there for display.
Kenneth and Rona Cox married in 1949 shortly after returning from World War II. The couple both served in the United States Air Force. Kenneth was a radioman on a B-29 bomber, and Rona was a classification specialist for B-17 bombers.
Shortly before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Aug. 6, 1945, Kenneth and nine airmen were on a reconnaissance mission. This is the military’s way of exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces. During this mission, their plane went down into the Pacific Ocean. Of the 10, seven survived with minor injuries. Kenneth was one of them.
The dress provides good memories of Kenneth for Rona.
“When I see my wedding dress, I think of him, floating overnight in the Pacific Ocean and I’m thankful he didn’t die that day,” she said.