Thursday, December 8, 2011

GUEST Blog part 2


Honoring The Greatest Generation - World War II Veterans – Part 2
My second inspiration, exhibit of WW II living veterans.  
I ran across an interesting article last month and I had to see this. Bill Schaefer, retired professor from Grandview University, wrote a book about living WWII veterans in Clarke County (Osceola). He took an oral history of 38 veterans (two of them women) and included a picture of the veteran holding their service picture. These pictures were being displayed at Grandview University for five days and I had to see it.

While this was a simple display, it was very moving. After reading a bit of their bio, I was compelled to do some tallying. Of the 38 living veterans:
~ 11 were drafted, the rest enlisted.
~ 3 were officers and 35 were not.
~ 23 joined the Army, 11 the Navy, 2 the Marines and 2 the WAVES
~ 14 served in Europe, 17 in the Pacific, 3 States-side, the rest in Central America, Italy and Africa
~ 4 saw action on D-Day
~ 13 of the 38 are widows
~ The average age of the veterans when they joined was 19 and their average age today is 85

Mr. Schaefer had some interesting facts that I’d like to share:
In 1939, the U.S. military had 190,000 soldiers and ranked 17th in world power just behind Romania. By the end of the war a total of 16 million Americans had served, including more than 60,000 Iowans.
Almost 100 percent of American industry was geared to the war effort. In 1941, the U.S. built 3.5 million private cars. For the rest of the war, it built only 139.
WWII was a huge agent of social change. When the war started, fewer than 4,000 blacks served in the U.S. armed forces. By war’s end, 750,000 had served.

After seeing the exhibit, I asked Judy if her dad had a like picture. She said “probably not”, and I asked her to take one for me “so we could write about him”. Judy wrote about him on Veterans’ Day and now, it’s my turn.

Here’s a bit about John as if he would have been interviewed for the book.
John graduated high school at the age of 16, enlisted in the Marines at the age of 17. After basic training, John went right to the Pacific and served from 1942 to 1945.  Why the marines? He wanted to fight the “enemy”, he wanted action. And action he saw, for three years all over the Pacific Islands. As Judy previously shared, he fought a many of battles and was at Iwo Jima when the American flag was raised, February 23, 1945. Can’t get any more memorable than that! He was in the Pacific on D-Day, June 6, 1944 and when the A-Bomb was dropped, August 6, 1945

A big salute to John and all the rest of WWII  veterans, for their service and love of this country.
Semper Fidelis marine dude John!

The Marine Corps adopted Semper Fidelis as its official motto in 1883. Translated from Latin, Semper Fidelis means "Always Faithful."  U.S. Marines use an abbreviated verbal version, "Semper Fi," to voice loyalty and commitment to their Marine comrades-in-arms.

Chat Later,

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