By: Kelsey and Melissa Clapp
December 7 marks the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. One of our employees, Melissa Clapp, has a personal tie to the event and decided to do some digging into Western’s response. Melissa’s grandfather was stationed in Pearl Harbor with her grandmother, mother, and her four siblings at the time of the bombings. Melissa was able to look in our archived Fraternal Heralds (known then as the Bratrsky Vestnik) to see how our predecessors responded to this horrific attack.
January 1942 Assistant Editor Heddy Piskac says “We stand on the threshold of a new year, confronted by the gravity of war...Apprehension, worry, and sorrow will stalk our members. These facts are inevitable, but not one of our organization will be so selfish as to wish that his life remain untouched by this country’s needs, and no member will be so lethargic that he will not aid these needs to the best of his abilities. No work or sacrifice will be too great, and no work or sacrifice will be too trivial for us to do…Permeating and enveloping every task will be the knowledge that each is working among congenial, true, and interested friends in the fraternity of our Association.”
February 1942 Another note by assistant editor Heddy Piskac “An indication of a willing response to our country’s needs is evident in the correspondence columns this month. Almost every letter mentions a lodge purchase of defense stamps and bonds, a Red Cross contribution, or plans for activities to raise funds for these purposes.”
September 1942 “Wencil Lippert reports that 43 members of Cedar Rapids Lodge No. 262 are serving Uncle Sam... mothers, wives, sweethearts, sisters, and friends – are actively participating in the war effort, too: folding Red Cross bandages; writing news of home to boys at camp and overseas; co-operating with the civilian defense program: collecting scrap for salvage drives;…in short, doing all in their power to back up the boys.”
Melissa says, “My mother has always said she does not know how they would have made it without the Red Cross helping them evacuate and get back to mainland safely. The Red Cross is still an organization Western works with.”
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