TWO GLOBAL WARS & THE HOMEFRONT

MEMORIAL TO LOCAL HEROES

HEROES

American Soldiers and Sailors fought and died so we might live to be free and safe. Some died heroic deaths and some died from bleeding to death, mutilating wounds, gangrene, or were blown apart. Some withered away to skin and bones in prison camps. Some are missing in action still. All are heroes who made the supreme sacrifice. We honor them by appreciating our freedoms. And we honor them by being grateful, respectful and kind to one another. We honor them by continuing to fight the foe of injustice, inequality, fascism and terrorism.
An excerpt from John McCrae’s World War I poem: “Take up our quarrel with the foe”:
To you from failing hands we throw, The torch; be yours to hold it high.”

THE USS INDIANAPOLIS

HORRORS AT SEA AND HEROES OF WAR:

The fate of the U.S.S. Indianapolis is one of the most horrifying stories of World War ll. The ship was a on secret mission having just delivered the parts of Little Boy, the nuclear weapon to bomb Japan. So, on July 30, 1945, when it was torpedoed by the Japanese navy and sank in twelve minutes no one realized it was missing. Of 1,195 crew, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remaining 890 faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks while stranded in the open ocean with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. The Navy only learned of the sinking four days later, when survivors were spotted. Only 316 survived. The sinking of Indianapolis resulted in the greatest single loss of life at sea, from a single ship, in the history of the US Navy.

EDWARD WASHBURN WHITAKER

WAR INJURIES

Edward Washburn Whitaker (1841-1922) was born in Killingly and raised in Ashford, one of sixteen children in the family. In the Civil War he would be chief of staff to General George Custer. At age 23, Whitaker became the youngest general of the Union Army. He was wounded with shrapnel in one battle and in another his horse running at gallop speed tripped and fell on top of him. He suffered from his injuries his whole life. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for carrying dispatches to General Meade through enemy fire. It is believed he arranged the conference meeting between General Lee and General Grant where the South surrendered.

WWI – KILLED IN ACTION

Edward Washburn Whitaker, youngest general in the Union Army, decorated Civil War hero, wounded, returned from the war to his home town of Ashford, CT. His daughter, Grace Darling, (whose story will be told tomorrow) bore a son Lieut. George Vaughn Seibold. Like his famous grand-father, Seibold would be a military man. At age 23 he volunteered in World War l and requested an assignment in aviation. He trained in Canada and deployed to England to fly with the British Royal Flying Corps. His squadron left for combat duty in France. He was recognized for bravery because tragically his plane was shot down. In 1918, his wife received a box labeled “Effects of deceased Officer 1st Lt. George Vaughn Seibold.”

He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

GRACE DARLING SIEBOLD

HEALING WITH GRIEF & PRIDE

Grace Darling Seibold was the daughter of a Civil War hero, General Edward Whitaker, from Ashford, CT. And she was the mother of World War l pilot, 1st Lt. George V. Seibold, who was shot down over France in 1918. Mrs. Seibold worked through her grief by helping other mothers and comforting soldiers in need. Grace organized a group consisting of mothers who lost children in the military with the purpose of comforting each other and giving care to wounded vets far from home. In 1928, the organization officially became the American Gold Star Mothers who proudly display stars.
A blue star for an enlisted and serving family member, and a gold star for a son or daughter who has made the supreme sacrifice.

%d bloggers like this: