By Rachael Tolliver-IRAHC PAOApril 29, 2019
Sometimes when things, events, and people get lost in time they are a part of history from whom we never hear again. But sometimes, with enough digging, the past is just a brief look away.
In 2015 the Fort Knox Gold Standard published a story, written by Capt. Jo Smoke, about the stained glass window in the Ireland Army Community Hospital chapel with the intent on answering a couple of questions. The first was how long has it been in the hospital, second was who made it, and the third and probably most important question was who is Pvt. John Bush, whose name is in the corner of the window, and from what did he die?
Some assumed because the date of death was during the Vietnam War period that perhaps the young Soldier was killed in combat. But there was no paperwork in the hospital's, now clinic's, archives to support that assumption. After the story was published a reader in the local community sent a copy of a newspaper clipping from April 1966 to Matt Rector, a historic preservation specialist in the Fort Knox Cultural Resources Office. And thanks to that local reader, that part of the mystery was solved.
According to the clipping Bush had been stationed at Fort Knox in late 1965 but became ill in early February 1966. Upon his admission to the hospital it was determined he had inoperable cancer. He passed April 5, 1966 and is buried in Mount Olive Cemetery located in Cook County, Illinois.
But no one had yet discovered who made the window. The rumor around the hospital and later clinic, was that a former commander who had a hobby involving stained glass made it. Even as recent at March 2019 when Ireland Army Health Clinic held a desanctification ceremony for the chapel, there was nothing available about the history of the window.
Until Rector, while researching another subject in early April, came across a small article and photo in a 1967 edition of Inside The Turret--the name of the Fort Knox paper at that time. And thanks to his research we now know that the window was given to the hospital as a memorial to Pvt. Bush, by his father, Charles Bush.
Two panes from this six-pane set will grace the walls of the new Ireland Army Health Clinic, which is scheduled to open in January 2020. The two panes selected for the display are of the kneeling Soldier, with Pvt. Bush's name at the bottom, and of a nurse tending an injured Soldier.
The other panes will be used in a chapel on Fort Knox, yet to be decided.
We are grateful to everyone who helped us over the last few years piece this puzzle together and solve the "mystery" of the IRAHC stained glass window.
And to the Bush family, we thank you.