by Rosie Court
St. Joseph American Legion Auxiliary
On Dec. 7, members of the American Legion Auxiliary will remember the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii that propelled America into World War II.
On a peaceful Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, American servicemen at Pearl Harbor had no warning what was about to happen – a surprise attack by the Japanese.
Planes bombed the ships, causing waves of chaos, destruction and death.
One of the dead was Elmer Kerstes, a 22- year old Navy man from Holdingford, who was serving on a battleship. His remains, buried in Hawaii, were positively identified just recently by DNA analysis, and a hero’s funeral for him was held just months ago in Holdingford.
In the Pearl Harbor attack, 2,400 American sailors, soldiers and marines were killed in less than two hours. The Japanese lost 29 planes with 55 airmen killed.
After the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress for a “Declaration of War.” In one of the most famous speeches, he said: “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 a date that will live in infamy.”
WWII ended with the dawn of the nuclear age after President Harry S. Truman gave orders to drop nuclear bombs on two Japanese cities.
The St. Joseph American Legion Auxiliary Post 328 thanks veterans not just on Veterans Day but every day of the year. The auxiliary offers support by advocating for veterans. We sponsor programs of the American Legion, foster patriotism and responsible citizenship. Veterans face many challenges when returning to civilian life, such as health-care issues, personal finances, stress disorders and others. They may face obstacles that prevent them from simply getting on with life.
Please do what you can by continuing to support our veterans. Volunteers are always needed at the VA Hospital. Clothing donations, personal items, magazines and more can be donated and dropped off.
We invite you to join the American Legion Auxiliary. Become a part of the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Six meetings are held each year in St. Joseph. Eligibility requirements can be found online at www.ALAforVeterans.org.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.