Pearl Harbor and Memorial Day

by Mike Peters

The new movie "Pearl Harbor" is scheduled for release on May 25th to coincide with Memorial Day weekend.  I can't wait!  It should be good. December 7th of this year will mark the 60th anniversary of the "day that will live in infamy" and our country's involvement in WW II.

My grandmother Coleman said she was in the kitchen making some of her Sunday fried chicken when she was interrupted by news of the ruthless Japanese attack.  She had never heard of Pearl Harbor and didn't realize at the time how her life and the lives of her family members would forever change.

With WW II came rationing and "Rosie the Riveter."  There was also the horror that came to be known as the Holocaust.  Four of Grandma Coleman's brothers and three of her brothers-in-law would see action during the war.  One of those brothers-in-law would even see time in a POW camp.  What started one quiet December Sunday in an Appalachian kitchen ended with "mushroom clouds" in the skies over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  At parties on VE and VJ day we celebrated the Allied victory over the Axis powers.  While we danced, somewhere in the shadows lurked the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War.

This Memorial Day lets pay special tribute to the men and women that served in WW II while also remembering those in our families who served in each war from the French and Indian War to the Gulf War.  My list is similar to the one from last year but comes amended with many new names.  Thanks to all who helped me document the new members.

This Memorial Day I will remember the following people:

Jack Dempsey Peters, my father's first cousin.  Jack perished in Korea.

James Peters, my uncle and my father's oldest brother.  James served in WW II.

William Peters, brother of my gg grandfather Jonathan Peters. William died from head wounds suffered during "Pickett's Charge" at Gettysburg.

Jordan N. Peters, my ggg grandfather, who fought in the War of 1812.

Zachariah Peters, brother of my gg grandfather Jonathan Peters. Zach lost a leg in the Civil War.

Sanford Gadd, brother-in-law of my gg grandfather Jonathan Peters. Sanford died during the Civil War's Battle of New Market.

William Mitchell Clay, my ggggggg grandfather, who was the first casualty of the Revolutionary War.

Reuben Huffman, Frederick Lemon, Ralph Stewart, Daniel Shumate, Mitchell Clay, John Cook(e), James Ellison, Francis Farley, David Miller and George Walker, Sr., all direct ancestors, who fought for the 13 Colonies' independence in the Revolutionary War.

E. A. "Lash" Coleman, my great uncle, who fought in WW II.

Thermos Hinzman, my great uncle, who was a POW in Hitler's Nazi Germany.

James Stewart, my gggggg grandfather, who fought during the French and Indian War.

James Madison Pritt, brother to my gg grandmother Margaret Pritt. Madison served during the Civil War.

John Stuart Huffman and Charles McClung Huffman, my ggg grandfather and his brother. These men, named for Revolutionary War Vets from Greenbrier County, VA/WV, followed the military leads of their namesakes and served during the Civil War.

Jordan "Don" Peters, my great uncle and brother to my grandfather James Burton Peters. "Don" served "over there" in WW I.

Vernon, Lawrence, Jack and Guy Pritt, brothers to my maternal grandmother Mernia Pritt Coleman. They answered their country's call in WW II.

Ralph, Virgil, Cebert, Forest and Herbert Stover, brothers to my paternal grandmother Sadie Stover Peters.  They also answered the call in WW II.

Teddy, Jimmy and Herbert Stover, Jr, my cousins, who fought in the jungles of Viet Nam.  They are the sons of Virgil, Forest and Herbert Stover, the WW II vets mentioned above.

Charles Walker, my great uncle, who fought in the Pacific Theater of WW II.

Everett Shaffer and Jerrell Clendenin, first cousins to my grandfather Obert "Obe" Coleman. Everett and Jerrell also fought for the Allies in WW II.

Shelby H. Peters, my father, who was a Korean War veteran and who died while on active duty 31 July 1967.

Happy Memorial Day and please don't forget to remember our veterans and all active duty soldiers and sailors.  Their military service was and is the insurance policy on our way of life.

If you save me a seat at the movie theater, I'll bring the popcorn.


Mike Peters

Back to Mike's Meanderings