Pearl Harbor Day Remembered in Seguin, Texas

Do you recall the 1325 Crow Creek Massacre in present-day South Dakota?  How about the 1565 Spanish Massacre of French Huguenots at Fort Caroline in Florida?  Maybe the King William’s War from 1689 to 1697?  Perhaps the 1739 to 1748 War of Jenkins’ Ear with Spain? 

 

You don’t recall those?  Then, how about the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783?  Certainly you recall the war of 1812.  And, of course you remember the 1835 to 1836 Texas Revolution?  Right?

 

There’s also the 1846 to 1848 Mexican-American War and the 1861 to 1865 American Civil War.  And, don’t forget the 1898 Spanish-American War.  And, we can’t forget World War I which began in 1914 when a Japanese fleet captured the Mariana Islands from Germany without any loss of life.  This is notable as the only action fought during World War I that took place on what is now U.S. soil (Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands).

 

What is interesting to note is that all of these events (along with dozens of other designated wars or conflicts during the same time period) all took place on then present or future American soil.

 

Just curious.  What significant military event happened next on American soil?  It was 67 years ago two Sundays back.  Does anyone remember?  There was hardly any mention of it in any media sources.  Who cares what happened that far back anyway!  Right?  These are busy times.

 

Hey, we’re getting ready for door-trampling Christmas sales, bail-out year-end give-aways and it’s Super Bowl time.  Gasoline is heading towards a buck-a-gallon and the new team in the White House has the federal currency presses all greased up and ready to roll—just in time to help us all borrow more money than we can afford to from banks that are in near bankruptcy to help our economy along!

 

Hold it right there.  Just stop!  Take a deep breath.

 

Fortunately, local folks like the members of the Kiwanis Club of Seguin were out in force before sunrise a couple of Sundays back setting out American flags surrounding the Guadalupe County Courthouse, Central Park and the general downtown Seguin area. 

 

Thanks guys.  You remembered.

 

Have the rest of us forgotten who we are?  If we don’t understand our own country’s history how can we possibly understand our present or our future?

 

How could we just pass over December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, without acknowledging the real debt of gratitude we owe to those brave Americans who gave their lives in defense of our freedom. 

 

It was at 7:48 a.m. on December 7, 1941 at the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when the Japanese began their attack, killing 2,403 Americans and drawing the United States into World War II.  Was then President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrong when he declared “This is a day that will live in infamy.”

 

He wasn’t wrong at all.  But unless the stewards of our history are not alert, our history may be quietly rewritten—maybe just to be politically correct.

 

Pearl Harbor Day is a good reminder for us to not forget all of those remaining World War II veterans who sacrificed on our behalf in a successful effort to protect and defend our country and the United States Constitution.  Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs report that there are only about 15-percent of the original World War II veterans alive today—and that they are dying at a rate of more than 1,000 per day.

 

Seguin and Guadalupe County is privileged to have several World War II veterans living in its midst.  To name a few, they include: Frankie Faldik, Clyde Kitchen, Basil Karm, Duke Brossman, Dewitt Odom, Sonny Schievelbein and Ted Henderson.  I’m sure there are others who I am unaware of—but let these seven heroes represent the unnamed World War II veterans still living in our community.

 

Several years ago, veteran Basil Karm together with other veterans and local leaders set out to provide an appropriate local monument to commemorate all United States military veterans.  That monument now exists on the grounds of the Guadalupe County Courthouse in Seguin. 

 

Recently, veteran Don Larsen completed an Historic Album of the Guadalupe County Veterans Memorial.  The album includes the original enabling documents that permitted the memorial, historic photographs of the monument, other historical data, and an alphabetical index containing the names and on-the-ground locations of veterans’ commemorative bricks that provide the entryway into the monument area.

 

The album together with an accompanying CD were donated by Don Larsen to the Heritage Museum located at 114 N. River Street in Seguin where they are on public display.  Many World War II veterans are mentioned by name in the documentation.

 

It would be fitting for all of us to recognize the courage and duty to God and country exemplified by all United States military veterans; but especially to recognize and thank our World War II veterans for their service to our country—that could make a very special Christmas remembrance for many veterans who certainly deserve to be remembered and thanked.

 

© Submitted by Bob Grafe for publication on December 18, 2008.

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