News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Editorials

October 3, 2008

Editor's Note: Victory Days — great time to learn history and share memories

TERRE HAUTE — The number of American military veterans who served their country during World War II are dwindling rapidly. To those remaining, we can’t pay enough tribute. They belong to a generation of men and women who made this nation — and the world — a better and safer place to live.

That’s why events such as Victory Days at Hulman Field this weekend are so important. This special activity, which began Friday and runs through Sunday, allows us to honor and salute WWII veterans, and to teach new generations about their courage and sacrifice.

All the chatter surrounding Victory Days and the display of various World War II artifacts got me thinking a lot this week about the tiny WWII mini-museum I have at my home.

My dad, Joseph L. Jones of Loogootee, served in the United States Marine Corps during the war, attached to the 4th Marine Division in the South Pacific. He passed away more than 10 years ago, and I’m the lucky one in my large family of siblings to have possession of much of his war-era memorabilia.

Among the artifacts are black-and-white photos, most of them snapped of him and his Marine buddies while stationed on Maui in the Hawaiian Islands before or after their military campaigns. The jovial poses mask the seriousness of their mission, which placed them in at least three combat hotspots during the war with Japan.

My dad’s tour of duty included combat on Saipan and Tinian, and a few months later the invasion of Iwo Jima. Like many of his fellow veterans, he talked little about his combat experiences, saying only that Saipan, for him, involved the worst direct fighting with the enemy, and that Iwo Jima was the most tedious because of how U.S. troops were hampered in securing the island due to fierce enemy resistance.

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