Monday, September 13, 2010

The USS Indianapolis

Hearing the story of, and listening to several of the survivors of, the sinking of the USS Indianapolis today
Courage Beyond Measure:The USS Indianapolis Story
was extraordinarily moving.

As I heard a woman sitting behind me comment before the program began, it was great to see such a wide range in the audience.....from WW II veterans ,all the way to young children attending with a parent or parents....with, of course, a large number of college age students present, since this was being hosted by a community college.

I heard two older gentleman several rows ahead of us speaking before the program began, with one of them asking "were you Navy?" knew they must be veterans.  At the presentation of the colors to start the program, I could see one of them straighten up as the flag passed by his row, and as he squared his shoulders and raised his hand in a salute ? you could almost see the years slip away, back to his days as a young man serving.

The program itself, first presenting the story of the USS Indianapolis, and then the latter part being a question and answer session for the survivors, was excellently done. There were moments that brought me to tears at various points, but there were also some light-hearted moments from the survivors themselves.......I will never be able to hear Revielle played again, without being reminded of a buglar now in his eighties who favored us today with his rendition of a 'swing' version of Revielle!  Thank you, Glenn Morgan.....and,sir, in my humble opinion? your 87 year old 'lip' is still pretty darn good when you're playing!

The woman who sang the Star Spangled Banner and  the Navy Hymn,Sandi Belcher, did an excellent job.  Kim Nielsen gave the multi-media presentation, which was beautifully done.   I was heartened to see many young people and children asking the questions during the question and answer portion...... as Jim Belcher,Jr., the son of a local survivor (James Belcher-who passed away several years ago), said, part of the reason the survivors and these other folks put on the presentation is so that the "Indy story" will not be forgotten.  Judging by the interest the younger generation showed? I don't think it will be.

If you want to know more about the story of the USS Indianapolis? this link  , and  also, this link at the Discovery Channel, are both excellent resources.

Thank you, to  Blue Ridge Community College for hosting this program, and making it available to the general public.

and Thank You, to:
 L.D. Cox
Edgar Harrell
Glenn Morgan
Felton Outland

for the insights and inspiration you shared today, and for your service to our country.

Thank you to:
Earl Henry,Jr.(son of Lost-At-Sea Lt. Cmdr. Earl O. Henry)
Jim Belcher,Jr.
for sharing your stories as children of those who served on the USS Indianapolis.

(and also Thank you to Jim Belcher's mother, who offered a unique brief view of Japanese life during WW II)

I'm sorry that L.Peter Wren, one of the rescuers, was unable to be present, (and send wishes for his speedy recovery.)

If you get a chance to attend one of these programs near you? I'd highly recommend it, an unforgettable experience.

(next book I want, below)
(Update:Tuesday night....."best husband in the world" surprised me tonight with a signed copy of the book!:)

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