America’s Oldest Teenager left us today

Richard WagstaffDickClark

November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012

Dick Clark, respectfully named as America’s oldest teenager, has unfortunately passed away today (April 18, 2012) due to a heart attack during an out patient procedure at the Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. He reached the highest age of being a teenager; age 82.

Dick Clark is one of the few people in the world that is enjoyed by multiple family generations. I personally remember seeing Mr. Clark every New Years Eve on ABC’s Rockin’ Eve televised celebration. I can remember when I was getting ready to watch the celebration a few years back and not seeing him host the show. Unaware that he had suffered a significant stroke which severely impaired his speech and motor skills, such as walking. Mr. Clark being nationally, maybe even worldly known for his hosting and speaking skills had to learn how to speak all over again. With the odds stacked against him, he succeeded and instantly became an inspiration to stroke victims all over the world. I remember seeing him after the stroke hosting the New Year’s show and having so much respect for him getting up there and doing what he loved, no matter what people may think or say about his speech impairment. If I was in his spot, I most likely would have hung up the towel. But not Mr. Clark. He doesn’t know how to quit. For my generation (born in the 1980’s) we mainly know him as the host of the Rockin’ New Years show, but for 2 – 3 generations before our generation knew him in a few other ways. Here is a little history about the man, the legend, and the cultural monumental icon, known as Mr. Dick Clark.

Dick Clark’s American Bandstand began in 1957 and continued until 1989. The program’s mix of lip-synched performances and its “Rate-a-Record” segment captivated teenagers, propelling Clark to fame. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the long-running special that broadcasts on December 31 each year, began in 1972, and he has created numerous other shows over the years.

Early Life

Television personality. Richard Wagstaff Clark was born on November 30, 1929, in Mount Vernon, New York, the son of Julia Fuller and Richard Augustus Clark. The couple had another son, Bradley, who was killed in World War II. Dick Clark began his career in show business in 1945 working in the mail room of radio station WRUN, which was owned by his uncle and managed by his father in Utica, New York.

The young Clark was soon promoted to weatherman and news announcer. Clark graduated from Syracuse University in New York in 1951, where he majored in business administration and landed a part-time job as a disc jockey at the student-radio station at Syracuse University. He also worked at radio and television stations in Syracuse and Utica before moving to WFIL radio in Philadelphia in 1952.

American Bandstand

WFIL had an affiliated television station (now WPVI) which began broadcasting a show called Bob Horn’s Bandstand in 1952. Clark was a regular substitute host on the popular afternoon program, which had teenagers dancing to popular music. When Horn left the show, Clark became the full-time host on July 9, 1956. Largely through Clark’s initiative, Bandstand was picked up by ABC as American Bandstand for nationwide distribution, beginning on August 5, 1957. The program’s mix of lip-synched performances, interviews, and its famous “Rate-a-Record” segment captivated teenagers. Overnight, Clark became one of pop music’s most important taste makers. His exposure on American Bandstand, and his prime-time program, The Dick Clark Show, generated countless hits. Clark required a formal dress code of dresses or skirts for girls and coats and ties for boys that helped establish the show’s wholesome appearance. The move was an early indication of Clark’s innate ability to read the public’s mindset, and mute potential criticism. When African-Americans were introduced among the white teenage dancers in a groundbreaking move of integration on national television, Clark was able to use his influence to stifle divisive talk amongst viewers.

Payola Scandal

During the 1950s, Dick Clark also began investing in the music publishing and recording business. His business interests grew to include record companies, song publishing houses, and artist management groups. When the record industry’s “payola” scandal (involving payment in return for airplay) broke in 1959, Clark told a congressional committee he was unaware performers in whom he had interests had received disproportionate play on his programs. He sold his shares back to the corporation, upon ABC’s suggestion that his participation might be considered a conflict of interest. Clark emerged from the investigation largely unscathed, as did American Bandstand. The program grew to be a major success, running daily Monday through Friday until 1963. It was then moved to Saturdays, and was broadcast from Hollywood until 1989.

TV Personality

The move to Los Angeles, the center of the entertainment industry, allowed Clark to diversify his involvement in television production. Dick Clark Productions began presenting variety programs and game shows, most successfully The $25,000 Pyramid and TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes.

Among the many awards programs the company produced was the American Music Awards, which Clark created as a rival to the Grammy Awards. The special has often surpassed viewership of the Grammys, presumably because it presents performers more closely attuned to younger audiences’ tastes. Dick Clark’s production company also produced a number of movies and made-for-TV movies including Elvis, The Birth of the Beatles, Elvis and the Colonel, Wild in the Streets and The Savage Seven.

In 1972, Dick Clark produced and hosted Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the long-running special that continues to broadcast on December 31 of each year. The program consists of live segments which feature Clark, his co-hosts, and different entertainment acts in and around New York City’s Times Square. The performances continue until the clock counts down to midnight, at which time New York’s traditional New Year’s Eve ball drops, signaling the new year. The program is aired live in the Eastern Time Zone, and then tape-delayed for the other time zones so that viewers can bring in the New Year with Clark when midnight strikes in their area. For more than three decades, the show has become an annual cultural tradition in the United States for the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day holiday. In 2004, Clark was unable to appear in program due to a stroke, which left him partially paralyzed and caused difficulty of speech. That year, talk-show presenter Regis Philbin substituted as host. The following year, Clark returned to the show, with radio and TV personality Ryan Seacrest serving as the primary host.

Legacy

Clark has been married three times. He married high school sweetheart Barbara Mallery in 1952, and the couple had one son, Richard, before their divorce in 1961.

He then married his former secretary, Loretta Martin, in 1962. The couple had two children, Duane and Cindy. They divorced in 1971. Since July 7, 1977, Clark was married to another of his former secretaries, dancer Kari Wigton who is unfortunately now his widow due to his untimely passing.

While Clark’s behind-the-scenes business acumen has much to do with the fortune he amassed, he is better remembered for the charming on-air personality and ageless looks that allowed him to remain one of television’s most popular hosts and pitchmen, even after American Bandstand went off the air in 1989. Five decades after he began shaping the viewing and listening habits of music fans with American Bandstand, Dick Clark was a staple in the marriage of television and rock ‘n’ roll.

Chubby Checker , inventor of the Twist, with Dick Clark, 1984 / SF

Mr. Clark is an inspiration to many, myself included. I happen to be flipping channels and came across the news of which mentioned “remembering Dick Clark”. I was shocked as at that moment I had not heard the unfortunate news. So I watched the news as they had a small memorial and memorandum for the legend. I instantly thought to myself, “how will we celebrate new years now?”. Since Mr. Clark was such a huge part of bringing in the new year every year that I feel new years will never be the same. Don McClean had coined the phrase “The day the music died” which referred to the 1959 plane crash that killed the music sensations Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.)—and the aftermath. As much of an impact on entertainment, the music industry and the standard of New Year’s celebrations is it safe to say that today (April 18, 2012) is “The day New Years Eve died”? The most overused phrase of 2012 is “the Mayans were right,” but really, the Mayans were right, because 2012 is frozen is in time now that Dick Clark is no longer here with us to count us down into the next year.

Dick Clark will forever be remembered for many things. He helped so many entertainers get their exposure which may or may not have led them to stardom. These entertainers include but not limited to The Jackson 5, Chubby Checker, Stevie Wonder, Paul Anka, Aerosmith, War, The stray Cats, Little Richard, and many many more. He was a pioneer of bringing african american acts on stage, in a time when it was not necessarily accepted. New year’s eve will not be as whimsical without him. Dick Clark had long been known for his departing catchphrase, “For now, Dick Clark… so long,” delivered with a military salute, and for his youthful appearance that earned him the moniker “America’s Oldest Teenager.”

Dick Clark once had said “If you want to stay young looking, pick your parents very carefully.”

Clark is survived by his third wife, Keri Wigton, and three children.

Twitter was dominated by a flood of heart felt tweets about the loss of such an icon. Some stars couldn’t help but express their feelings about his passing:

Snoop Dogg had this to say Via Twitter (@snoopdogg) “REST IN PEACE to The DICK CLARK!! U were pioneer n a good man!! Thank u sir”

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life.” — Ryan Seacrest

“Very sad to hear about Dick Clark. What a great life. What a great career. Relevant until the end. He will be missed!” – Joan Rivers

“Dick Clark was eternally young. No matter what culturally phenomenon was happening, he always embraced it. RIP…” — Russell Simmons

“Just heard the news of Dick Clark… It was truly an honor to have worked with him, learn from him and to be able to call him a friend. He was a great man and an even better friend. The word legend is thrown around a lot, but it’s never more appropriate than when used in describing Mr. Clark. He was a real inspiration & influence in my life. I will dearly miss my friend… Rest well DC….” — Mario Lopez

“Back in the 1960′s the pop culture catch-phrase was “Never trust anyone over 30″. Dick Clark was trustworthy all…” – Heart

Fergie vowed to always remember him and posted a Twitpic with her, Dick, and Ryan Seacrest:

Dick Clark will be truly missed. We will carry on his legacy every New Year's Eve

Jimmy Kimmel lightened the mood a bit with his tweet:

I had the pleasure of working with Dick Clark many times – great guy. Some trivia: did you know he HATED music?

Even Real Housewives (or former Real Housewives in this case) expressed their sadness. From Alex McCord:

For now…Dick Clark….so long. RIP to the man I spent watching on New Year’s Eve as a kid and whenever I was at home, American Bandstand…the world’s perennial teenager.

Anderson Cooper Tweeted the exact reaction I had when I first heard the news:

What a career Dick Clark had! What a life! My thoughts are with his family and friends.

Larry King: Dick Clark was a great friend, true legend, & a master journalist. Nobody did what he did better. It was a pleasure to be in his company.

Neil Patrick Harris: For ever, Dick Clark… So long.

David Boreanaz: My father did a lot of work with Dick Clark @Jim_Gardner. He remembers the moments at AM/Philadelphia and the days at WOLF-AM, SYR, NY.

Denise Richards: My heart goes out to Dick Clark’s family and loved ones…. we lost a legend.. #RIPDickClark

Al Roker: I got to meet him many times. I was meeting w/Dick in his office as the OJ verdict was announced. It was surrea

Marlee Matlin: So sorry about passing of Dick Clark. A man with the gift of discovering talented musicians he also was a consummate producer/lovely man RIP

Questlove: Dick Clark. A Great Philadelphian. Thank You Very Much! (later) Guys I’m aware Clark is [from] NY, but the show that brought him national attention “the Philadelphia way” American Bandstand makes him one of us.

Andy Cohen: RIP Dick Clark! The broadcasting legend will remain a teenager in our memory forever. #Bandstand

Donnie Wahlberg: Very saddened by the loss of a true legend… Mr Dick Clark. #ripDC

Seth Green: So saddened by Dick Clark’s passing- an innovator, a legend, a man who believed in the greatness of humans. #ThankYou

Yvette Nicole Brown: Heartbroken 😦 #NothingElseToSay

“Weird” Al Yankovic: Such sad news. RIP Dick Clark.

Chris Harrison: Just heard the sad news about the passing of Dick Clark. A legend in our game!

Holly Robinson Peete: #RIP Dick Clark. Always so nice Employed me many times. I will miss you Dick. Prayers to Kari and the family #Legend

Wayne Brady: RIP Dick Clark. Being able to do the New Year’s special w him was an honor. A TV pioneer and extraordinary business man. God Bless.

Shawn Ryan (The Shield creator): Hope Dick Clark’s somewhere spinning a hip new single for the kids and ringing in the New Year.

U.S. Sen. John McCain posted, ‏”RIP Dick Clark – thanks for the many years of entertainment.”

And CNN’s Don Lemon noted the death of longtime “Soul Train” host Don Cornelius earlier this year, tweeting, ”There is a HUGE dance party in heaven right now lead by #DickClark & #DonCornelius.”

@SpeakerBoehner (Speaker of the House) “Condolences to the family of Dick Clark. We join them in mourning his passing, & will never forget his achievements in entertainment & music”

@Hanson (Trio pop Band) “Dick Clark was a Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio/TV icon with an influence on pop culture for more than 50 years. Rest in peace. -ISAAC”

@Mann-Weil (Grammy winning songwriter) “Dick Clark was the heart of Rock and Roll. He called Barry “my long lost son” Never saw the resemblance but we loved the guy. RIP Dick Clark”
@Cesar Millan (Dog Whisperer) “My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Dick Clark, a fellow dog lover and an entertainment legend”

William Shatner: “My condolences go out to the family of Dick Clark.  My best, Bill.”

Gloria Estefan: “Not 2 many people actually deserve the term “legend”, Dick Clark embodied it & never lost his humility or humanity. We will miss him!”

Lance Bass: “Farewell to one of my all time idols Dick Clark- genius pioneer in music/television and just a great guy! You will be missed!”

David Boreanaz: “R.I.P. Dick Clark. New Years Eve will never be the same.”

Marlee Matlin: “So sorry about passing of Dick Clark. A man with the gift of discovering talented musicians he also was a consummate producer/lovely man RIP”

Billy Ray Cyrus: ”R. I. P. Dick Clark. Thoughts and prayers with the Clark Family.”

Michelle Williams: “Sad to hear about the passing of Dick Clark!  His contribution to music and the platform he gave people will always be remembered.”

Chris Daughtry: ”RIP Mr. Dick Clark. You will be missed.”

DL Hughley: ‏”RIP Dick Clark worked with him on New Years Rockin Eve and TV Bloopers always a class act.”

Jenny McCarthy: “RIP dick Clark. You were amazing to work with. U will be missed. Xxxoo.”

Dane Cook: “Rest in peace Mr. Dick CLark. Thank you for new years and new years of class, positivity & entertainment.”

Blake Shelton: “So proud I had the chance to shake hands with Dick Clark in my lifetime… Great man.”

LA Reid: “Dick Clark’s profound contributions to music, television and popular culture will reverberate throughout time. R.I.P. Mr. American Bandstand.”

Rob Lowe: “Had the pleasure to work with Dick Clark when I was 15. He was charming and kind; a true American icon that will live forever.”

Michael Bloomberg: “Dick Clark’s spirit will always live on in Times Square & the hearts of millions of New Yorkers

Marie Osmond: “In 1974, my first time on BandStand, I thought Dick Clark was the most handsome man in show business. In 1998,… “

Reverend Al Sharpton: “Dick Clark, dies at 82 years old. May he rest in peace.”

Janet Jackson: “Dick Clark changed the face of musical television. He was wonderful to many artists including our family. We will miss him. God bless.”

And I am sure many more will continue to trickle in as the somber news spreads. Even the Obama’s had this to say:

“Michelle and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Dick Clark,” the president said in a written statement after news broke that Clark had succumbed to a massive heart attack.

“With ‘American Bandstand,’ he introduced decades’ worth of viewers to the music of our times,” Obama said. “He reshaped the television landscape forever as a creative and innovative producer. And, of course, for 40 years, we welcomed him into our homes to ring in the New Year.”

“But more important than his groundbreaking achievements was the way he made us feel — as young and vibrant and optimistic as he was.  As we say a final ‘so long’ to Dick Clark, America’s oldest teenager, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends — which number far more than he knew,” the president said.

American Idol had stopped and paused to pay tribute to him as well.  American Idol host Ryan Seacrest didn’t bound onstage with his usual zest tonight, and took a moment at the beginning of the live performance show to acknowledge the passing of “a television pioneer and a good friend of mine, Dick Clark.”

“Without Dick Clark, a show like this would not exist,” Seacrest said. “He will be missed greatly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Seacrest then paused, sighed, and tapped his watch impatiently. “I know that he’s in a better place, and he’s saying ‘Hey, let’s get on with the show, okay?” He paused.

“You got it, boss.”

Mr. Clark, may you spend eternity doing what you love most; broadcasting wonderful, facetious, and entertaining commentary to the angels. May you continue to command the New York Times Square Ball drop from the clouds above as your iconic count down to midnight  permeates the crisp night air in a canticle embodiment that will reverberate forever. Thank you Mr. Clark for the many contributions you innovated, and or used to make what the music and entertainment industry is today. You are truly a pioneer. Even MTV would attempt to match your success in music promotion but not until 25 years after you had already started the spark of promoting new bands and bringing new acidic tastes of music to the lime light. May you rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as they and the world grieves over the loss of such a iconic figure. It is the end of an era I am sad to say. Just the same as when Sinatra had passed, or when “the day the music died”. Your image and talent will forever be etched in the grains of world entertainment. New Years will never be the same. We honestly lost a huge part of American and world history. You will be forever missed.

“For now, Dick Clark… so long,”

Richard WagstaffDickClark

November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012

Published in: on April 19, 2012 at 3:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

A day of which will live in infamy

Since December 1st, I have been showcasing articles related to Pearl Harbor and WWII. Six articles of courage, honor, bravery, and historical information. If you haven’t had the chance to read these wonderful articles collected from various news websites from across the United States, here is a list of the articles showcased:

(click on the link to view the article)

1. (Posted on December 1st 2011) Titled “December 1941: The December to Remember”

2. (Posted on December 2nd 2011) Titled “The December to Remember: Last of the Wind Talkers”

3. (Posted on December 3rd 2011) Titled “The December to Remember: WWII Vet To Be Buried With Full Military Honors 67 Years After Death”

4. (Posted on December 4th 2011) Titled “The December to Remember: Pearl Harbor radar men are reunited in Allentown”

5. (Posted on December 5th 2011) Titled “The December to Remember: Ancestry.com allows users to search Military Records for free Until December 7th”

6. (Posted on December 6th 2011) Titled “The December to Remember: WWII veteran receives nation’s top civilian honor”

Now for today’s post. I wish I could have had the chance to go to Hawaii and be a part of the special memorial planned for today. I have read so many wonderful articles about veterans that are still with us that recall the events from that fateful day. I wanted to write something that would memorialize today. But in all honesty, what could I say. I wish I could have had the honor of interviewing a veteran who witnessed the attack. So instead I looked online for a few articles to only come across this wonderful group of first accounts to assist in the nationwide tribute.

This article is from the San Jose Mercury News:

From Dec. 7, 1941 until long after VJ Day and the end of World War II, Americans referred to the Japanese strike against Pearl Harbor as a “sneak attack.” In his declaration of war before a joint session of Congress the next day, President Franklin Roosevelt captured the nation’s shock and fury, promising it would be “a date which will live in infamy.”

But on this 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, with old war wounds healed and racial sensitivities heightened, the phrase used more often to describe that day is “surprise attack.” For most Americans, the “infamy” of Dec. 7, 1941 has receded since Sept. 11, 2001.

The survivors of those doomed ships — many from the Bay Area — are mostly hard of hearing now, but the buzz and the boom of the bombs from that day still ring in the ears of John Tait of Concord, Ed Silveira of Hayward and Dempson Arellano of Antioch. Gordon Van Hauser, who lived in San Carlos until his death in 2008, often spoke of his service not in terms of fighting for his own life, but for the life of his country.

Readying for war

The Great Depression had dragged on for more than a decade by the time Tait went to the Navy’s Oakland recruiting office in 1940 and enlisted. “Times were hard, and civilian life was not working for me,” Tait says, sitting at his kitchen table in Concord, where he and his wife, Marge, settled after his 22 years in the Navy ended. The war in Europe had begun, and an appetite for more of it was in the air every time Tait’s father switched on his ham radio.

“We didn’t think they were good sailors, or that they had good ships,” said Tait, now 91 beetling his busy white eyebrows as he talked about the Japanese. “Well, they turned out to be good seamen with good ships.” During his final three years in the Navy, Tait was posted in Japan, where he and Marge taught English to Japanese self-defense forces. His students were often startled to learn where he had been on the first day of the war.

Aboard the USS Arizona

Today the ghost ship USS Arizona sits at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, the 1,102 sailors who perished seven decades ago entombed there for all time. On the evening of Dec. 6, 1941, a young Marine, Gordon Van Hauser took a liberty boat from his barracks to the Arizona, to have dinner with two friends from boot camp.

After chow Van Hauser and his buddies joined other sailors on the ship’s fantail to watch a movie, which Van Hauser disliked so much he took a boat back to the base that night.

A lazy Sunday morning

Van Hauser was about to go on duty the next day, Dec. 7, when low-flying Japanese torpedo bombers — headed for Battleship Row and the Arizona — appeared out of a clear Hawaiian sky, rattling the Marines’ rooftops and strafing the parade ground. “I took my rifle, which was a 1903 model Springfield, and we were firing .30-caliber ammunition…as the Japanese torpedo bombers came in,” Van Hauser said in a video his son recorded before his death. Firing single-shot, bolt-action rifles scarcely better than muskets, he and about 800 other Marines brought down two or three Japanese zeroes, Van Hauser recalled, and watched them burst into flames.

First licks

Even as an 86-pound boy growing up in Hayward, Silveira could raise a 100-pound feed sack over his head. He recalls this with overweening pride at 89, inviting anyone who questions his strength to punch him in the stomach. “I was a rowdy kid, no question,” Silveira says. “I fought at the drop of a hat. Size meant nothing to me. It’s the one who gets in the first hit.”

Aboard the USS West Virginia

Dempson Arellano had just suggested to his friend Gleason that they visit their girlfriends in Honolulu, when somebody burst through the door and shouted, “The Japanese hit!” Arellano had the jumper he wore on liberty pulled halfway over his head when he felt the battleship shake violently. “I finally got my head out of the blouse and said, ‘What the hell was that?'”

Just then, a second torpedo struck the ship, peeling open a hole in the hull. As brown water came rushing down the passageway, Arellano said, “Gleason, let’s get the hell out of here.” When they reached the deck, a Japanese plane was spraying the deck with machine gun fire. “We had just brought potatoes aboard and there was a stack about 8 or 10 feet tall,” says Arellano, who now lives at the Antioch Care Home, “so we ducked behind that and the Japanese plane strafed all those potatoes.”

Aboard the USS San Francisco

For three months, Ed Silveira did nothing but peel potatoes. “On Dec. 7, I was mess cooking on the second deck. On Saturdays and Sundays, you rack out, you don’t do nothing. At about five minutes to 8, I’m looking up and seeing all these airplanes. I thought they were our people practicing. They were just peppering the bay. And I was thinking, ‘Gee, what a good mock battle this is!’ About that time, I saw a plane hit the West Virginia with a torpedo bomb, and I realize this ain’t no drill.”

Aboard the USS Arizona

At 8:06 a.m. — 12 hours after Van Hauser made the fateful choice not to stay with his friends on the ship — they were dead. A 1,760-pound armor-piercing bomb flew into the Arizona’s ammunition magazine, igniting a fire so hellish it would burn for two days.

Aboard the USS West Virginia

Arellano had just started to heave himself up onto his assigned gun turret when another seaman stepped on top of his head. “It seemed like he was in a hurry to get out of there,” Arellano recalls. The sailor had just seen a bomb whistle past him, drop through the turret, and descend into the depths of the ship. Arellano found out a year later that the bomb had landed in the powder handling room, but failed to explode.

The Japanese had built a limited number of armor-piercing bombs, and the West Virginia took two of them. One disemboweled Captain Mervyn S. Bennion. “He didn’t die right away,” Arellano says, his eyes glistening. “He managed to man the loudspeaker and he said, ‘All hands, abandon ship. God bless you.'”

The West Virginia was sinking. But to prevent it from rolling over on its side as the Oklahoma had done just a few berths away, a damage control team dived into the oily water — which was on fire — and blew the ballast tanks, causing the ship to right itself before settling to the bottom. “The ship was sinking right under me,” says Arellano, who scrambled off the ship just as the second wave of Japanese bombers arrived with their deadly cargo.

Aboard the USS Tennessee

Almost as soon as he stepped onto the Tennessee, Arellano was handed a fire hose and ordered to fight a major fire on the fantail. He attacked the the fire until his breathing apparatus ran out of oxygen and he passed out. “The next thing I knew, I was looking up at the sky up on deck,” he says.

The Arizona lay in front of him. “Even on the Tennessee, there were guys with flash burns from when the Arizona blew up,” he says. “It actually cooked their eyeballs. Some of them were running blind on the deck of the Tennessee. Their flesh was hanging down off their face, and their eyeballs were burned out. A lot of them just ran a few feet and collapsed. That’s what I remember more clearly than anything.”

Aboard the USS St. Louis

By 9:30 a.m., Tait heard the command to cast off lines. The St. Louis was going to make a desperate escape through the south channel, where the sinking USS Nevada might block other ships from getting out.

The speed limit through the channel was 5 knots. “By the time we got to the mouth of the channel, we were doing 28 knots,” Tait says. The ship’s anti-aircraft guns would bring down three planes, but the light cruiser’s troubles weren’t over as it neared open waters.

“There was a two-man submarine waiting for us,” Tait says. “They fired two torpedoes at us, but the torpedoes hit a reef and exploded.” which led to the ship being dubbed the “Lucky Lou.” Tait’s crew spent Christmas at Pearl that year, and on the menu for the ship’s dinner, Capt. George Rood congratulated his men.

“The good ship has had her first test…and came through with flying colors,” he wrote. “Every officer and man took his station at once and the whole ship functioned as smoothly as though it were a drill. We…know now what we can do, and nothing can bother us in the future.”

_______________________

So that concludes the chilling but memorializing stories from first hand witnesses. Thank you to all who have served both past and present and please know that I personally appreciated what you have sacrificed for our country. We as a nation thankfully honor those who lost their lives that day. But it was the soldiers that came after them that served in WWII that secured the world’s future, which is today. If Hitler had taken over all of the countries that he had planned, the world would be a completely different place. For those who perished during the Pearl Harbor attack and or WWII, may you Rest in Peace. “Stand and ease men, you’ve done your duty well”. With this being said, I salute you just like many of our service men and women will be doing today December 7th, the 70th Anniversary of your ascent to the sky’s above.

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on December 7, 2011 at 3:43 AM  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

The December to Remember: WWII veteran receives nation’s top civilian honor

Credit: Napa Valley Register

As I mentioned in the post published on December 1st, I will be posting articles that are related to WWII and or Pearl Harbor that are of current events. Today’s news article is one that I found on napavalleyregister.comwhich is a local news paper from Napa, California. I actually watched a segment on my local news TV channel about this gentleman. His story is one of intrigue and courage. But first here is a little background on how the Japanese American Citizens were treated shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Being a Japanese American shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, was not easy. They were treated as possible threats to National Security. Many Japanese Americans were treated unfairly as the non-Asian citizens did not trust anyone resembling Japanese descent. The country went into a sort of campaign to motivate the young and eager willing male public 16-24 years of age to join in to fight the Japanese to obtain Justice against the attack on Pearl Harbor. Some citizens took the distrust too far by hanging racist signs and writing horrible messages on or near the Japanese American houses and businesses such as these:

Racist Sign hung in San Francisco Advertising the Sutro Baths

A Japanese family returns home to find their garage vandalized with graffiti and broken windows in Seattle, on May 10, 1945. AP Photo

We had Japanese Internment camps right here in California. Japanese-American internment was the relocation and internment by the United States government in 1942 of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific coast of the United States to camps called “War Relocation Camps,” in the wake of Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The internment of Japanese Americans was applied unequally throughout the United States. Japanese Americans who lived on the West Coast of the United States were all interned, while in Hawaii, where more than 150,000 Japanese Americans composed over one-third of the territory’s population, 1,200 to 1,800 Japanese Americans were interned. Of those interned, 62% were American citizens.

Japanese Internment Camp in California

So now you may know why this article is so significant. Now without further adieu here is the News article.

credit:Napa Valley Register

Takuma Tanada, a 92-year-old resident of west Napa, makes no claims for heroic service in World War II in the fight against Japan. “Others are the real heroes,” he said.

While vast numbers of American soldiers, sailors and pilot lost their lives or endured miserable conditions in the Pacific, Tanada was on General Douglas MacArthur’s staff as an agricultural advisor in the Military Intelligence Service.

Yet his contribution was not without significance. When the war ended and American forces ran Japan, Tanada said he was in charge of the importation and manufacture of fertilizer. This humanitarian effort, combined with American food aid, prevented millions of Japanese from starving to death after the war, he said.

Credit: Napa Valley Register

Three weeks ago, Tanada stood before the top leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate in Washington, D.C. to accept the Congressional Gold Medal for his war service.

The medal — one of the two highest civilian awards in the United States — went to Tanada and 99 other WWII veterans not only for their individual actions during the war, but to recognize the patriotism of Japanese Americans at a time of rabid prejudice at home.

The Congressional Gold Medal is part of America’s ongoing effort to atone for injustices done to Japanese Americans during WWII, said Tanada, who professes to holding no personal bitterness.

At the time of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Tanada, the son of Japanese who immigrated to Hawaii two decades earlier, was a biology student at the University of Hawaii.

Pearl Harbor triggered a wave of public hostility against Japanese Americans whose loyalty to America was questioned, Tanada said. “We were considered spies, a Fifth Column and so forth,” he said in an interview.

On the West Coast, the U.S. government rounded up more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry, including entire families, after Pearl Harbor and moved them to guarded camps.

In Hawaii, Japanese Americans, who constituted a much higher percentage of the population, were not sent to internment camps. “The authorities in Hawaii recognized our loyalty,” Tanada said.

Tanada and his brother both volunteered for the Army. His brother, Shigeo Tanada, was accepted and fought against Germany in an all-Japanese American unit that was highly decorated after the war.

Tanada said he was first rejected by the military, then drafted later. Because of his ethnicity and bilingual capabilities, he was assigned to the Military Intelligence Service where 5,000 Japanese Americans did top-secret work translating Japanese communications. He reached the rank of technical sergeant.

Credit: Napa Valley Register

Holding a master’s in biology, Tanada was assigned to MacArthur’s staff to work on agriculture and food issues.

Presiding over the award ceremony in the Capitol on Nov. 2 were Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader; Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader; House Speaker John Boehner and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

“He was all smiles. I think this energized him,” said Juliet Tanada, his daughter who is a retired Army lieutenant colonel.

Given all that happened to Japanese Americans during World War II, “this is a kind of closure,” she said.

Tanada’s son-in-law, David Vesely, a retired Army colonel, said the Congressional medal should help to heal old wounds. “I hope when he goes to his grave,” he said of his father-in-law, “he feels there is atonement for what the government did.”

While pleased with the Congressional Gold Medal, Tanada downplays his service. “I never experienced hardship, mentally or physically. It was an easy job for me,” he said.

Japan’s decision to attack the U.S. at Pearl Harbor was a “very stupid” move, Tanada said. Japan is lucky it lost the war, he said.

“It turned out better for them,” he said. Under American leadership and with American aid, Japan was able to create a more civil society and lay the groundwork for future economic prosperity, he said.

Tanada went on to have a distinguished career as a plant researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was “rumored” to have been nominated for the Nobel Prize, but nothing came of it, he said.

Anyone who searches the Internet for “Tanada effect” will find  entries about an electrical plant phenomenon named for Tanada, the discoverer.

Tanada and his wife moved to Napa 28 years ago to retire near their daughter, Juliet Tanada, who was then teaching optometry at Berkeley.

Widowed in 1986, he tends a one-acre garden in Browns Valley where he grows fruits and vegetables and wages war against marauding deer.

“I like the climate,” he said. “Napa has a small-town atmosphere, which appeals to me. I don’t like big cities. It was the perfect place for me to settle.”

The human rights group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) hosts a rally at Ground Zero to protest the construction of a mosque at the site of the Islamic terror attack that brought down the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

America is more tolerant of minorities today than it was in the 1940s, Tanada said. While there was some backlash against American Muslims after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, it was nothing like what happened to Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor, he said.

“I think we are much more open-minded than before,” he said.

You can visit the website by visiting: WWII Veteran Receives Nation’s top civilian Honor

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you know someone of Japanese ethnicity that lived in the United States during WWII, ask them about what it was like to live in a Nation that at first had promise of a better life but then as soon as Pearl Harbor was attacked became a Nation of stripping civil rights from anyone who was Japanese. Even though you were born in the US, you were still Japanese and considered a threat. Times have thankfully changed.

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on December 6, 2011 at 2:15 AM  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,

The December to Remember: Pearl Harbor radar men are reunited in Allentown

This is the 4th installment of articles regarding current events that are related to WWII or Pearl Harbor. Today’s article came from a Philadelphia local news paper called “The Morning Call”  Here is the wonderful article:

Army Signal Corps veterans (from left) Joe Lockard, Bob McKenney and Dick Schimmel meet on Nov. 1, 2011, at Phoebe Home in Allentown, where McKenney lives. The radar men served on Oahu, Hawaii, during the Pearl Harbor attack. (HARRY FISHER, THE MORNING CALL / November 7, 2011)

The three old Army buddies faced one another for the first time in 70 years, united by their experience in America’s darkest hour of the 20th century. One of them reflected on the time gone by since their early days in uniform.

“I’ll tell you how it is with me,” said 89-year-old Joe Lockard, a newsboy cap on his head and a cane by his side. “This is a little poem I wrote:

“I look in the mirror and what do I see? Some old man looking back at me.”

“Yeah!” 89-year-old Dick Schimmel broke in, instantly identifying with the rhyme.

“You’re a poet and don’t know it,” quipped Bob McKenney, 90 years old and in a wheelchair.

Boyish grins spread across their wrinkled faces. Their sense of camaraderie had not diminished since the day they saw smoke over Pearl Harbor.

Seven decades ago, the three called Pennsylvania their home. They had joined the Army during the Great Depression to seek adventure. Shipped out to Hawaii, they met while serving in a unit newly formed to use radar as a defense against hostile aircraft.


“I don’t think anybody realized the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor,” said Lockard, whose name would be etched in history for what he did that day. “They were looking for them to attack the Philippines, or somewhere like that, closer to Japan.”

“The week before,” Schimmel said in a 2007 interview, “we were on the alert. We didn’t know where the hell the Japanese navy was. All of a sudden, bingo, the alert’s off.”

The next day, Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked.

McKenney’s memory is poor now, but he has said that even the aftermath was scary.

“We were expecting a landing,” he said in a 1991 interview, “and if they did land it would be pretty tough because we were not in a state of readiness.”

Lockard and Schimmel visited McKenney at Phoebe Home in Allentown last month, a reunion arranged by The Morning Call to mark the 70th anniversary of the event that thrust America into World War II.

In their youth, on the eve of disaster, they belonged to the Signal Corps Aircraft Warning Service on Oahu. Pvts. Joseph Lockard and Robert McKenney worked at the Opana mobile radar station on the northern tip of the island. Opana had gotten a radar set Thanksgiving Day 1941. Its operators could look out over the Pacific from a height of more than 500 feet.

Pfc. Richard Schimmel was about 30 miles south at Fort Shafter, which lay east of Pearl Harbor and had an information center linking the five radar sites across the island. The 19-year-old from Allentown helped build the center and worked there as a plotter and switchboard operator.

Lockard, also 19, grew up in Williamsport and had been drawn to the service by a hometown soldier’s exotic tales of the Philippines. Heading there by ship in 1940, Lockard got fed up with peeling potatoes, duty he had as one of the few passengers who didn’t get seasick. So, when the ship docked at Oahu and Signal Corps officers came aboard recruiting volunteers for the radar unit — Signal Company, Aircraft Warning, Hawaii — he signed up.

McKenney, 20, came from Philadelphia and was fond of joking and horsing around. He earlier served in the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Merchant Marine, and had made a hobby of electronics, the reason he joined the Signal Corps.

The remote Opana site had no quarters, so the soldiers who manned it camped several miles away at Kawailoa. On Saturday, Dec. 6, they got a call to operate the radar set early the next morning.

“Joe Lockard and I were the only experienced so-called crew chiefs there,” McKenney said in a 1991 video interview with the National Park Service. “I tossed a coin to see who would draw that duty, to be there to operate from 4-7 a.m …. I tossed with Lockard and he lost, so he got the job.”

Lockard and Pvt. George Elliott rode a truck to Opana that Saturday afternoon. Elliott had been with the company only two weeks and didn’t know how to use the oscilloscope, but he could plot.

“We spent the night at the site and turned on the equipment and were on line and in contact with the information center at 4 a.m.,” Lockard said. “George was at the plotting table; I was the operator at the scope.

“After the exercise, we didn’t shut down the unit at 7 a.m. because we didn’t have any transportation back to Kawailoa. The truck hadn’t arrived. So I decided to give George some training.

“I started to put him in front of the scope and there it was — this huge echo on the screen. I had never seen any kind of response on the equipment that was so large.

“At first I thought there might have been some glitch with the equipment. So I checked everything I could and everything operated OK, so it had to be real. There had to be something out there.”

The blip was 136 miles out and closing fast. It was 7:02 a.m.

Elliott tried to call the information center but couldn’t raise anyone on the plotters line because the plotters had all gone to breakfast at 7. He used the administrative line to call the switchboard, and Pvt. Joseph McDonald answered. McDonald, from Archbald, Lackawanna County, near Scranton, and Lockard were friends.

“Joe told us that everyone had left the building,” Lockard said. “We asked him to look around and see if he could find anybody, and he did. He found a young Air Corps lieutenant, Kermit Tyler, and brought him to the phone.

“I talked to Kermit Tyler and tried to convey my excitement at the fact that we had never seen anything like this on radar, and that it obviously had to be planes. … I didn’t have any idea how many. I pushed it as far as I could, but you can only argue with an officer so long.

“He just said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ ”

Tyler believed the blip was B-17 bombers due in from the mainland.

“We continued to plot it all the way in to within about 20 miles of our station, where we lost the echoes in the interference we had in the terrain [at 7:39 a.m.],” Lockard said. “Then we closed down the unit and shortly thereafter the truck came and we started down the highway to Kawailoa.”

Back at Fort Shafter, McDonald left the information center and entered the tent he shared with the man he had relieved from duty the evening before — Schimmel. Feeling uneasy, McDonald woke his buddy. It was about 7:45 a.m.

“Hey Shim, the Japs are coming,” he said.

“I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he started telling me about the information he got from Lockard about the radar,” Schimmel said. “We were sitting there talking for a while and all of a sudden we heard BOOM!

“Here we thought the Navy was having a sham battle. Where we were situated, on a high plateau, we could look over and see Pearl Harbor. We ran out of the tent. We’d see a plane dive, hear an explosion and see smoke. Somebody came and said they heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor was being attacked and it might be Japanese planes.”

Schimmel and McDonald got up on the mess hall roof for a better view. When antiaircraft guns opened up behind them, they ran back to their tent, got their .45s and gas masks and hurried to the information center to man the switchboard and plotting board.

At Kawailoa, McKenney and a few other radar men had put on their dress uniforms to attend Mass and were waiting for a ride when “hell broke loose,” McKenney said in 1991. “We threw a lot of stuff on the truck and went up to where Lockard was.”

The truck carrying Lockard and Elliott back to camp passed the one taking McKenney the opposite direction, to Opana.

“They were waving and shouting at us,” Lockard said, “but we couldn’t understand what they were saying. Along the way, we knew something was happening because we could see these huge billows of black smoke in the direction of the harbor.

“When we got to Kawailoa, they told us that we had been attacked. We knew immediately that what we had seen were those planes. [A lieutenant] was standing there, and we told him about it.

“Very quickly we went back up to Opana, and we stayed up there. … We now operated the radar around the clock. Two machine-gun positions were installed in defense of the radar and we continued to survey the ocean north of Oahu. We expected an invasion. None happened.”

After Pearl Harbor, Lockard, McKenney and Schimmel took separate paths.

Lockard was promoted to staff sergeant, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and early in 1942 sent to Fort Monmouth, N.J., to attend Officer Candidate School. He was home long enough to marry the girl he rode on a seesaw with in a Williamsport park when they were both about 14.

“If you ever meet the right girl,” he wrote to McKenney, “don’t hesitate or think about it — you might lose her.”

As a second lieutenant, Lockard went to advanced radar school in Florida and then to Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. After the war, he worked for a railroad and then in the electronics industry, ultimately securing 40 patents. He testified in Pearl Harbor inquiries and was portrayed in the 1970 film “Tora! Tora! Tora!”

He lives in Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County, near Harrisburg, and has two sons and a daughter. His wife, Pauline, died in 2009.

McKenney went on to radar duty in the South Pacific, then returned to the States to become an officer. He spent the rest of the war at the Signal Corps Inspection Agency in Philadelphia, was discharged as a first lieutenant and served in the National Guard, retiring as a colonel.

He graduated from what is now Delaware Valley College and worked for Philadelphia Electric Co. in Bucks County. In 1969, he moved from Central Bucks to Lynn Township, where he owned and ran the landmark Stines Corner Hotel for 25 years with his wife, Aileen, and their seven children. Aileen, a leader in the Lehigh Valley’s tourism industry, died in 1991.

Schimmel left Oahu to spend six months on Canton Island, near American Samoa, and returned to Hawaii. He became a staff sergeant and altogether spent 41/2 years overseas.

Back home in Allentown, he worked as a Sears appliance salesman. He has two sons. His wife, Yolanda, died last year.

Tyler, the lieutenant at the Fort Shafter information center, was not disciplined for disregarding Lockard’s report. But his role that day dogged him until his death last year at age 96.

“I wake up nights sometimes and think about it,” Tyler told the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., in 2007. “But I don’t feel guilty. I did all I could that morning.”

Elliott, Lockard’s partner at Opana, died in 2003.

McDonald died in 1994. He was long troubled that he hadn’t done more when the radar warning came in, said Schimmel, who stayed in touch with him. “He used to call me up a lot of times and say, ‘I should have gone over their heads.’ I told him he couldn’t do that.”

Lockard and Schimmel saw each other in June at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s World War II Weekend near Reading. Lockard and McKenney traveled together to Hawaii in 1991 for the Pearl Harbor 50th anniversary. Schimmel was also there, but the three didn’t link up.

Asked if anything would have been different if the military authorities had heeded the radar warning, Schimmel said: “If [our] airplanes could have been sent up, we would have had more power in the air. … We still would have been attacked, and we would have been outnumbered, but I think we would have had a much better fight, and we would have saved a lot of ships.”

McKenney has said the outcome might have been different if the brass had fully embraced radar.

“There should have been serious attention from a level higher than ours into what the purpose of the equipment was. The essentials were there, [but] there was no commitment. It was just haphazard.”

According to Lockard, the damage the Japanese did might have been reduced.

“There’s no way you can fire up a battleship and get it out of the harbor in that short a time. But there would be the possibility of having more intense antiaircraft artillery firing at these attacking planes, which may have kept them farther away from the ships, [resulting in] less damage.”

During their afternoon together in Allentown, the three men remembered former comrades with names like Winterbottom, Upson, Hilton, Shoemaker. They spoke of places they had known on Oahu — Koko Head, Haleiwa, the Kolekole Pass, Schofield Barracks. They laughed about the enlisted man’s lot — pay that was so meager they couldn’t afford a taxi to Honolulu.

Lockard finished reciting his poem to Schimmel and McKenney.

Where is the youth that once was mine?

Deep on the inside lost in time.

Will I see him as before?

Quoth the mirror: Nevermore.

david.venditta@mcall.com

610-770-3784

Copyright © 2011, The Morning Call

I hope you enjoyed reading a first account of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I am so thankful that these gentlemen were able to do this interview as it is the only way that we can secure the actual facts from this sad event in history. Our history is slowly dying everyday. Every day we have veterans passing away and details and information that they can provide goes with them. This is why we need to ask and interview any veteran that is willing to speak about their tour of duty. Help preserve our national history and talk to a vet.

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on December 4, 2011 at 1:50 AM  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,

The December to Remember: WWII Vet To Be Buried With Full Military Honors 67 Years After Death

This is the third post that I have dedicated to all the veterans who served in WWII. As we approach December 7th I will be submitting articles that are of current events related to WWII and or Pearl Harbor. Today’s article is a great story of a veteran’s final mission, to be buried back in the states. He was laid to rest today, December 2, 2011.

I found this article at CBS4 Denver CO

Nearly 70 years after his death, the family of a World War II airman can finally give him the burial he deserves. The military’s DNA program recently identified the remains of staff sergeant John Bono. He disappeared after a mission over Germany. John was part of a crew aboard the Flying fortress B17G.  “There was a mission to bomb a synthetic oil complex over Masburg, Germany. What was to be his last mission,” said Virgil Urban, who is married to Bono’s niece, Mary Jo. Of the nine people on board, Bono was the only one who survived. “He always called me Jojo,” said Mary Jo. She was only 8 when Bono disappeared. “My grandmother, it ate her up because she always thought he’d come home and he didn’t,” said Mary Jo.

Virgil served in Korea. He never met Bono, but feels like he knew him. “I try and picture myself in that airplane at those last few minutes,” said Virgil. “How scared they were. It gets to me.” In 1991, a German was digging a grave in a cemetery when he found a set of dog tags. It took 17 years for the U.S. military to get permission to obtain the remains. Mary Jo found out that the remains of her uncle may have been found when she received a phone call asking for a sample of her DNA. “It was shocking. I really didn’t believe it,” said Mary Jo. “I thought, ‘Oh, this can’t be true. It just can’t.” After 67 years, Bono’s remains are home. Burial services are scheduled for Friday morning at Fort Logan National Cemetery. “The last piece of the puzzle to our family is now in place. Johnny is now home,” said Mary Jo. Bono’s wife passed away about 10 years ago. There are about 40 family members expected at the service. Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. There are more than 73,000 unaccounted for.

A kind Vet commented on the website with this:

John Barnard

What was to be his last mission,” TRUER words- never spoken..Tears here.
To the family? I’m glad you can at least have some of that “closure” stuff.
“sergeant John Bono.” Thank you for your service..You’re a true member of
“America’s GREATEST” generation..You gave ALL..
Stand at ease sgt…You’ve served your time.
signed
A vet.

I happen to agree with him. Looking back in retrospect at the former generations, they undoubtedly are and forever will be known as “The Greatest Generation”.

John, thank you for your service, may you rest in peace.

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on December 3, 2011 at 12:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

The December to Remember: Last of the Wind Talkers

So as I mentioned in my previous post published on December 1st, I will be posting articles that are related to WWII and or Pearl Harbor that are of current events. Our first article is one that I found on daily-times.com which is a local news paper from New Mexico.

There is a movie called “Wind Talkers” with Nicolas Cage. The storyline is about an American Marine named Joe Enders. Joe is a decorated Marine who is by-the-book to a fault, is just coming back on duty (by cheating on his medical tests). “Ox” Anderson, much greener, is also getting the same new task: Protect the Navajo codetalkers (Ben Yahzee and Charles Whitehorse, respectively). While Enders is initially frustrated with his assignment, his respect grows as the codetalkers prove their worth in the brutal battle to take Saipan. If you have not seen this movie, it is a MUST SEE!

Today’s article is about the last surviving member of the real Navajo Marines; Mr. Chester Nez.

Chester Nez, the only surviving member of the original 29 Navajo Marines who used their native language to devise an unbreakable code during World War II, will appear at the New Mexico Aztec Community/Senior Center on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

This is the first time Nez has visited the Four Corners area to present his story, and he is accompanied by Judith Avila, author of “Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII.”

The event is being sponsored by the Aztec Public Library and the New Mexico Endowment for Humanities. Nez grew up in New Mexico, and in the 1920s, along with many other Navajos, he attended a government-run boarding school which attempted to erase Indian culture and language. Nez later was recruited by the U.S. Marines to help devise a code using the same language the government earlier tried to force him to abandon.

Nez and his fellow Code Talkers faced many cultural challenges during the war, one of the most difficult being surrounded by so much death. Navajos believe that when a dead body is encountered, the dead person’s spirit stays with the living. Returning home after the war, Nez felt he was haunted by these ghosts until an “Enemy Way” cleansing ceremony freed him of the spirits.

Nez, 90, lives in Albuquerque with his son. Organizers of Wednesday’s event hope it will be a great educational opportunity for local students. Students from local schools and dormitories are being bused in, Aztec Library Director Sabrina Hood said. Veterans groups are also expected to attend. Ariana Young, Miss Indian Farmington and a student at Tibbetts Middle School, will be present, and the Aztec High School ROTC will present the colors. Avila will provide a Power Point presentation about Nez and the Code Talkers, and she will be available for questions and a book signing after the presentation. Aztec Library Program Coordinator Angela Watkins said the date for the event was chosen because the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which plunged the U.S. into World War II, occurred Dec. 7, 1941.

“December is also Native American Month, so this gives us a chance to pay homage to Native Americans who served in the war, as well as to all other veterans,” she said. Hood, who is Navajo, was particularly thrilled to find out that Nez was accompanying Avila. “I think this is such a great opportunity for our area, from both a historical and a cultural standpoint. Chester Nez is very passionate about working with youth, so as soon as he found out students were going to be coming, he agreed to come also,” she said. Like many Navajo elders, Nez fears the Navajo language is in danger of dying, and he wants to share his story so Navajo children can better understand how critical it is to learn and use their native language. “We’re expecting a huge turnout for the event,” said Watkins, adding that seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The presentation starts at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for a flag ceremony and seating.

For more information, contact Angela Watkins at 505-334-7695, or email awatkins@aztecnm.gov.

Article written by Leigh Irvin.  lirvin@daily-times.com

Stay tuned, more articles to come.

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on December 2, 2011 at 1:00 AM  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

NEW WEBSITE: Pop’s 55.com


Hello all!

I have started a new website so I can post progress that will be completed on my 55 Chrysler. You can check the site out by clicking the image above or by going here:

www.Pops55.com

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on August 5, 2011 at 12:41 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Disneyland footage via youtube

I am going to Disneyland in about 12 days. I love everything about Disneyland. But most of all I love the history. I love bringing people who have never been to Disneyland as it is so much fun seeing them eyes wide open mouth open with awe and no words to say as they soak it all in. This trip we have four people who have not been to Disneyland. So this will be a very fun filled trip. As their tour guide through Walt’s Magic Kingdom, I will ensure they will get a history lesson as well as one of the best time’s of their lives. Disneyland is a magical place. It gives you a feeling that you will not experience anywhere else. I have been to many theme parks and the only one that urges me to come back is Disneyland. The feeling you get when you cross under the tracks of the Disneyland Railroad and enter town square is completely indescribable. It is something that keeps you coming back for more. I am always looking for old footage from when Disneyland was fresh and new and for the longest time there was only footage from opening day. When I searched for new footage that had been recently posted since my last search I came across these videos. So here are the construction update videos along with a Main street tour. Enjoy.

And for the last video, this was a special treat for guests visiting the park around its 55th anniversary of which I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky ones. At the Main Street Cinema they had color footage from opening day July17th 1955.

Also some very sad news came last week when word that Wally Boag had passed away. Wally was one of the greatest entertainers of Disneyland. He also is the voice of the Masters of Ceremonies “Jose” the parrot at the Enchanted Tiki room. He inspired many people to hone their craft in the entertainment business including Steve Martin who had started his career in Disneyland first as a paper boy handing out the Disneyland News paper and then as a clerk working in the magic shop on Main St. Steve Martin being an avid twitter user had posted this via twitter “My hero, the first comedian I ever saw live, my influence, a man to whom I aspired, has passed on. Wally Boag.” Wally Boag didn’t work alone. He had a stage cohert name Betty Taylor. Oddly the following day, June 4, 2011, Boag’s long time partner at the Golden Horseshoe Revue, Betty Taylor, had passed also. So now they are playing on the great stage in the sky. Thank you to you both Wally and Betty for a wonderful era of entertainment history in Disneyland. To help memorialize them and their craft here are 3 videos of them performing at the Golden Horseshoe Revue in Frontierland Disneyland.

Wally was very light on his feet..

So that concludes this post about Disneyland and it’s wonders via youtube. I hope you enjoyed watching these wonderful pieces of history. Please comment on the poster’s page of each video and thank them for saving and preserving these wonderful videos.

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on June 6, 2011 at 12:43 AM  Comments (1)  

Valentines Day weekender in Napa

We decided to take to Napa Valley Wine Train. Really neat experience. The hotel we are staying in reminds me of a 1950’s motor lodge. Small, quaint, and romantic. I have video, photos and tons of fun stories to share. I will write a detailed article once we get back. Have a great weekend everyone! Skrach and Vividly Vintage is in Napa!

Thanks for reading,

https://i1.wp.com/www.themustangguys.com/sig.jpg

We have hit the 150th post!

Today we have reached a milestone. Today’s post is officially the 150th entry that I have posted on Vividly Vintage. A lot has happened since I started this blog. I did not think that it would be this popular. I originally started this blog just to share my thoughts about all things retro and nostalgic. I have met so many great people who have visited my blog. I love the comments and feedback that I receive. And a special thank you to all of my subscribers.  Lets take a look back on the top 10 most popular articles made popular by you, the viewers.

1. To all who currently serve and or have served our country, this is for you. (click here to view this article)

In this article I just decided to write a thank you to all veterans world wide. It was chosen as the top freshly pressed on wordpress.com which ended up giving me huge amount of traffic that day. A total of 2196 visitors came to Vividly Vintage on November 11, 2010 with a total of 56 comments. It was fun watching the traffic stats rise so far from my normal amount of visitors. Thank you for all who came to my site that day, as it was special to me because it memorialized my family members (Both my grand fathers and my Uncle Larry). It was the memorial that they should of had when they were alive, although it was still great to see them memorialized in this way.

2. Norconian Resort Supreme, California’s most beautiful unused resort (Click here to read this article)

The article on the Norconian Resort Supreme was an instant hit with the viewers and it even allowed former employees of the resort that were at there when it was used as a military facility to get in touch with each other in the comments. It made me feel good as I was bringing old friends together again; one of the things that was unexpected that the blog provided for both myself and the readers.

3. Hat Works By Paul (Click here to read this article)

pauls_hats51

“In a time where traditions have disintegrated, where people avoid eye contact on the streets and where heads remain barren and cold, four women have set out on an adventure to revive tradition, to unify the people, and to “Bring the Hat Back.”

Hat works by Paul is a local business that makes hats in the old style and sells them. When I wrote about them, I had not started my “Retro Retailers List” at that time. Although it was articles like this that led me to the idea of the retro retailer concept. Which after I started my list, readers flocked in by the hundreds which inspired me to dedicate one whole week to just retro retailers.

4. Playland at the beach (Click here to read this article)

I have always been fascinated with Playland. I can and listen to stories of visits to playland all day that my Grand Father tells. I got so many comments on this article that are from people that have happy memories of the beach side park. It was especially nice to read a comment that was written by a lady named Gail, she wrote:

“Met up with some girl friends that I have known since I was in 2nd grade; I am now 61. Thought we’d all get together to cheer up one of us that was just diagnosed with cancer, and the Playland at the Beach was in our topic of conversation. We all grew up in South San Francisco, not too far from Playland, and spent a few birthday parties at the Fun House. We all sat around and laughed today about our experiences; the ride that really brings laughter to me was the record! Thanks for putting this on the net.”

Her comment was so touching it brought tears to my eyes. I really never thought an article that I would write would bring so much joy to one person. Just made me feel great. Made me thankful that I started this blog. If it can bring one person joy, it is worth it to me.

5. Rosie the Riveter (Click here to read this article)

My grandmother worked in the factories in Oakland helping build planes. I never got the chance to talk to her about it unfortunately. When I wrote this article I had found photos that were from the Library of Congress. Color photos of the factory workers during WWII. These photos are amazing.

6. “Aluminum Overcast” B-17G WWII Veteran (Click here to read this article)

Jeff and I had the chance to visit and tour a B17 named “Aluminum Overcast” It was so amazing to see. When we boarded the plane, we were instantly brought back into time. You could hear big band music being played in the cockpit, it was like I was back in 1942. This giant of a plane, looks so amazing when it is in the air. It makes you wonder how something that big can stay in the air.If you ever get the chance to view this great plane, you should for sure tour it. When we were aboard, we got to talk to the pilot, get into the nose, and see how cramped that it was for those brave souls that flew over the clouds during WWII.

7. Retro Retailer #2 (Click here to read this article)

Even though this is the second retro retailer, it became popular for some reason. I believe because of some of the retro items that I highlighted and showcased. Either way this was the first Retro Retailer article that became popular and it also was the one that inspired me to continue with more. Finding these retailers is not the easiest thing in the world though.

8. Bonnie and Clyde (Click here to read this article)

I originally wrote this article because I wanted to showcase and share the location of the Bonnie and Clyde Car. Which turned into a history lesson on who the couple was and how they became a part of history. For some reason, it is one of the most searched topics on my website. I am not sure why but it is. It is for sure an interesting part of history.

9. Tear Drop Trailers Rise in Popularity (Click here to read this article)

I wrote this article to learn more about the tear drop trailers and how to build one. I want to build one to go with my 55 Chrysler. I found so many different styles and vintages. They were so popular in the 30’s thru the early 60’s then it went somewhat silent. I noticed after writing this article that there is a rise in popularity. There are companies that are popping up that are making new versions of the old style tear drops. As well as there are clubs that are growing in size in camping out in these tear drops. Sounds like fun.

10. 1951 L.A. Architectual masterpiece “Shusett House” planned to be demolished (Click here to read this article)

It was a sad day for architecture enthusiasts of the modern style. This wonderful example of 1950’s Hollywood Style luxury was unfortunately torn down because “the owner decided the house did not suit his needs” It has since been completely removed. Sad.. it was a beautiful house and an awesome example of 1950’s architecture.

____________________________________

So that concludes the top ten articles from the 150 that I have posted. Thank you all so much for visiting my website, commenting, and subscribing to the site. It is not easy to find material to write about but with readers like you, it makes it fun to find things to write about. I hope to make it to the next mile marker with even more interesting, intriguing, and captivating articles. I have a FLIP video camera and I have yet to use it. So that is one thing that is in the near future for future articles. Thank you so much for your loyalty as readers. If there is anything that you wish to share with me that you feel that I think I can write about, please email me at skrach@vividlyvintage.com

Thanks for reading,

https://i1.wp.com/www.themustangguys.com/sig.jpg