In case you haven't noticed
I hope you all have been reading about the upcoming Operation Celebration: 1940s, hosted by Peabody Main Street this Memorial Day weekend. I've heard that we have World War II veterans coming from California, Colorado, and Minnesota. They are people who grew up here in Peabody, went off to war, and then moved on to other places. I hope some of you get to visit with them and hear their stories.
Memorabilia for the Vault of Treasures is coming in and there are interesting items, indeed. Souvenirs from some of the German prisoners who were interred at Peabody have been donated for the weekend. These are objects that have not been on display before. We are lucky to have them. Donations from veterans include medals, division yearbooks, photographs, uniforms, letters, personal histories, and other articles.
Kansas State Historical Society put together a display called "Kansas on the home front" to show what life was like in our state during the war years. You might want to bring your children or grandchildren to the senior center to see this. American culture then was vastly different from what it is now. How interesting for them to get this view of the lives of their family members a few generations back. They may not get another chance to see or understand the sacrifice made by the folks back home as the United States waged war overseas.
It has been a challenge getting the WWII vets to commit to being in the parade. Few of them seem to think they did anything special by enlisting and going off to fight. They are humble beyond measure. They think the whole weekend is a grand idea, but they just don't think any of it applies to them. They simply did what needed to be done, came home, picked up their lives, and moved on.
If you know a vet or are related to one, would you do me a favor and ratchet up the pressure just a smidge? The whole point of this is to be able to give them a cheer of thanks, look over the souvenirs of their service, and try to understand their lives before they are gone from us forever.
The jacket to my dad's parade dress uniform is on display with some other WWII items at the bank. Our family is lucky to have a large scrapbook of his service under General Patton. My mother has the letters he wrote and those that he brought back that she wrote. She has been reluctant to turn them over to us and I guess I can't blame her. But she has not destroyed them. My mom served out the years of Daddy's overseas service as a nurse in St. Louis torpedo factory. They each did their part.
My mom's sister served on the front in Italy as an Army nurse. Her tent-mate took care of a badly injured young soldier from Russell, Kansas. No one expected him to survive being evacuated from the field hospital. He not only survived the evacuation, he survived the war and spent decades representing our state in Washington, D.C.
Every person who lived those years has a story to tell. We will have forms available for veterans and folks on the home front to fill out and let us know what happened to them.
So veterans, even if you don't wish to be in the parade, don't want to see the USO troupe, hear the swing tunes, or share a meal with other members of your community, please tell us about your service to your country.
How else will we ever know?
— SUSAN MARSHALL