23 February 2014–a Day of Military Significance often Overlooked

With a rare few minutes to spend reading, I picked up a book given me by my grandson for Christmas this year. A bestseller–James Bradley’s Flyboys (New York:  Little, Brown and Company, 2003).  A true story of courage displayed by 9 American airmen in World War II in the Pacific.  One of the nine, and the only survivor, was George H. W. Bush, who became the 41st President of the United States.

Bradley was the son of one of the marines who planted the American Flag on Mount Suribachi–and became part of the most famous, most reproduced, and most recognized photograph in the world. He told that amazing story in Flags of our Fathers, also a best seller.

Bradley couldn’t get the men and their fate out of his mind.  So he researched and interviewed and revealed the secrets of their history.  And he did more–he placed that story into the context of vicious, all-out war.  He gave shape and meaning to the horrendous cost in lives and dollars eaten up in World War II.  Sparing neither side in their brutality and lack of concern for human life.

Some of the other military events on 23 February–

  1. 1918.  Clash of German and Russian troops in World War II led to the birth of the Red Army.  And the 23 February became known as Army and Navy Day in Russia.  (Swallowed up in 2014 by the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics where Russia won 18 gold medals.)
  2. 1942.  Japanese submarines attacked Santa Barbara Oil Fields on the U.S. Mainland in an abortive attempt to render them useless.
  3. 1945.  It has been 69 years since 6 Marines raised the American Flag on Iwo Jima and infused the American war effort in the Pacific with new life.
  4. 1991.  The U.S. launched the boots-on-the-ground war against Iraq as part of Desert Storm.

20th Century War–created records that detail some of the most atrocious, worrisome, and heartbreaking events in the history of the world in general and for American troops in particular.  Still protected by rights of privacy rules and laws, these records will become available in the future for a whole new generation of genealogists.  Unlocking the facts behind soldiers’ lives and what they sacrificed for us all.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle   http://arleneeakle.com

PS  Stay tuned for updates and details of what’s happening with my non-profit library in Tremonton UT.   A few weeks makes a great difference in our goal of opening the Library and its collections to the public.  WOW!  After a hiatus of years, we are making steady progress on renovations and access.

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