I know it has been a while since I have written, but today has a couple important meanings. Today marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. The day the drew the United States into World War II, and a day that galvanized our nation against the Axis Powers.
I have been fortunate, through my travels, to visit Pearl Harbor, and the USS Arizona Memorial. It was a very moving experience. To stand where our Sailors, Marines and Soldiers were, I couldn’t imagine, as I heard one survivor say today, the living hell that was that calm island that day. I felt then, as I do now, an amazement at the strength and determination of our servicemen at Pearl Harbor, and those that served throughout that war, and those that followed.
Last summer, I had the chance to visit my Great Uncle Vernon Stockdale. Uncle Vernon was at Pearl Harbor that morning on PT-107. (No, it wasn’t that one, as he told me!) While his memory was failing, he was able to relate some of his experiences and feelings of the attack. Uncle Vernon served the duration of the war on PT-107, and retired from the service in 1954. Hearing those descriptions after being there further impressed upon me the importance of his service and that of those who served that day and after.
As we move forward, we have fewer and fewer Veterans that survived that day. Uncle Vernon died last year after his 100th birthday. Closer to home, our Post has had a bad couple of weeks. We have lost at least five members, including two past Commanders. Bob Barnett Sr, a Marine Veteran of World War II and of Iwo Jima, and Larry Naber, an Army Veteran of Vietnam and the Iowa State Patrol.
The combination of these events always reminds me of the importance of our organization, and our participation. As Commanders, these two played an important role as the symbol of the Post at the Post Home, and with the District and Department. In addition, they represented the Post when we honored members at Funerals and helping the Post with meals and fundraisers.
Help me and help the Post honor these and all Veterans through your acts and continued service. Tomorrow, I will have the honor to say the VFW rite of funeral for Bob Barnett, but sadly, our numbers of available members for the rifle detail has dwindled. Please check in with the Post to offer some time.
Thanks and See you at the Post!