Memorial Day then and now

FIle Photo John Vale, chaplain for VFW Post 1032 Hobe Sound, salutes in honor of the 31 names their chapter has lost in the past year during a previous Memorial Day remembrance ceremony in Stuart.

FIle Photo
John Vale, chaplain for VFW Post 1032 Hobe Sound, salutes in honor of the 31 names their chapter has lost in the past year during a previous Memorial Day remembrance ceremony in Stuart.

Patrick McCallister
For Veteran Voice
While Memorial Day means barbeques and sales for some, for others it’s among the most sacred of our civil holidays. It’s the day when we honor those who’ve died in service to our nation.
How’d it get started? That’s a more complex question than it might seem. Back in the ‘60s, President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation declaring Waterloo, N.Y., the birthplace of Memorial Day on May 30, 1866. The National Memorial Day Museum is even in the village. Done deal, Decoration Day, now Memorial Day, started in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
Not so fast.

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‘Momentous victory’ — WWII’s turning point

Source: Wikimedia Commons The U.S. Navy pilots of the four Consolidated PBY-5A Catalinas of Patrol Squadron 24 (VP-24) and VP-51 that flew the torpedo attack mission against the Japanese fleet’s Midway Occupation Force during the night of 3-4 June 1942. Pictured, from left: Lt. (jg) Douglas C. Davis, of VP-24; Ensign Allan Rothenberg, of VP-51; Lt. William L. Richards, Executive Officer of Patrol Squadron 44 (VP-44), who flew in a VP-24 aircraft on this mission; and Ensign Gaylord D. Propst, of VP-24. Richards hit the Japanese oil tanker Akebono Maru, flying PBY “24-P-12”. This was the only successful air-launched torpedo attack by the U.S. during the entire Battle of Midway.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
The U.S. Navy pilots of the four Consolidated PBY-5A Catalinas of Patrol Squadron 24 (VP-24) and VP-51 that flew the torpedo attack mission against the Japanese fleet’s Midway Occupation Force during the night of 3-4 June 1942. Pictured, from left: Lt. (jg) Douglas C. Davis, of VP-24; Ensign Allan Rothenberg, of VP-51; Lt. William L. Richards, Executive Officer of Patrol Squadron 44 (VP-44), who flew in a VP-24 aircraft on this mission; and Ensign Gaylord D. Propst, of VP-24. Richards hit the Japanese oil tanker Akebono Maru, flying PBY “24-P-12”. This was the only successful air-launched torpedo attack by the U.S. during the entire Battle of Midway.

Mary Kemper
Staff Writer
We’re coming up on the 74th anniversary of World War II’s Battle of Midway — June 3-6.
There’s really no way to put words to what a “momentous victory” it was, to quote Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Chester Nimitz. But those are as good words as any.
It was only 6 months after Pearl Harbor. Our country was caught flat-footed, and there’s no denying it. To stand up against Japan at that point was suicidal, thanks to the crippling loss of so many ships.
We went into it anyway. We had to. We lost a lot of brave guys. In a way, it was our Battle of Britain.
We won. The tide slowly, but surely, turned. It came at a terrible cost.
In those days, when the Empire of Japan was about to take over half the world, we were desperate to beat these fanatical monsters back – even if we didn’t quite know what we were doing at first.
But we learned fast, at Midway.

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