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Saturday, June 30, 2012

World War II Memorial, Washington, DC

Celebrating the Fourth of July

Several years ago, during the week of the Fourth of July, I was watching (for the umpteenth time) The Patriot. This film is about the Revolutionary War in the southern states and tells about the bravery of the local militias.

I always hope that at least one tv station will show this film when the Fourth of July rolls around each year. This film makes me feel proud of the brave men and women who stood up for their young country and put their lives on the line.

However, we must also remember the many other wars we have been engaged in, defending and protecting our rights and freedoms so that we might live the way our ancestors planned (“life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”).

In the 1944 editions of the Shelbyville Democrat, I began to realize just what sacrifices the young men of Shelby County had made during World War II.  It was quite overwhelming to turn each page of the 1944 obituary book and see the names of those young men who died for US. It must have been a terrible, dark time for the families who had sons, brothers, uncles, fathers, and yes, sisters and aunts in the service at that time.

Here are a few examples of the headlines from the Shelbyville Democrat during February and March of 1944:

Thurs. 24 Feb. 1944
CITY PHYSICIAN DIES IN ALGERIA – Capt. Harry D. Miller, Prominent Local Doctor in Army Medical Corps, Killed in Accident

Thurs. 24 Feb. 1944
COUNTY’S WAR CASUALTY LIST MOUNTS TO 16 – Clifford DeBaun, Seaman, Dead as Result of Burns Received in Pacific Battle

Thurs. 2 Mar. 1944
ONE KILLED, ANOTHER MISSING – Capt. Kimble Midkiff lost his life, Sgt. Clifford E. Henderson missing (Note: Cliff was an old friend of my Dad’s. Dad told me the Mr. Henderson had been a POW for much for the war.)

Thurs. 9 Mar. 1944
JOHN V. YARLING KILLED IN ITALY -- Son of Thomas E. Yarling Dies in Accident, Youth is 18th to Lose Life in War.

Thurs. 16 Mar. 1944
CITY WOMAN’S NEPHEW IS KILLED IN ACTION – Pvt. Duard Henson was killed in action on February 7 (he was 19 years old).

Thurs. 30 Mar 1944
BODY OF LT. KERCHER RECOVERED FROM SEA – Burial will Take Place in Shelbyille

The obituaries continue throughout the year with many names and details of the brave service members from Shelby County who died during World War II. It is heartbreaking to read their stories, to know they were all so young. Many left widows with small children and grieving aged parents.

Sometimes I feel that World War II has been overlooked by recent generations. We are all caught up with stories from the Civil War and the American Revolution, those stories and records are all over the internet. Only recently have World War II records become more accessible.

I hope we will all remember our World War II family members and wave a flag for them this Fourth of July!!  And let us also honor and salute all those among us who have recently served so bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have many American heroes, both past and present, to be proud of  --


(I will begin adding some of these obituaries to my blog – I think it is important to remember all of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.)