Friday, July 8, 2011


 What I Remember of the World War
Eugene Halverson

In 2005 my Daughter, Diane asked me, what I remembered about World War ll.  The next thing I knew, I was standing in front of her 6th Grade kids in West Clinton Elementary. 

I told them I was their age when the war began and I was in the 6th grade and caring less what was happened a world away.  This was before there was such a thing as a Television.  We didn’t even have running water in our house.  All I knew came from a little radio.  Mother and I listened every day to the invasion of Finland, praying for our relatives there.  It was a terrible war where a few thousand determined Finns stopped the invasion of two million Russian soldiers.   Soon all of Europe was invaded and occupied except England.  In 1941 Japan bombed Pearl Harbor sinking our ships and killing and wounding thousands of Americans.  War was declared against both Germany and Japan.  Did you know that one hundred million people were killed in it.

Leaving School to join the Navy
Many boys in the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th  and 12th   grades just left school.  Like my friend Max, who left in the eight grade becoming a sailor at age 13, he was 15 his first ship got sunk. He got a medal of honor for saving his Captains life and kicked out of the Navy when they found out how old he was.  Then joined the Merchant Marines and got sunk and lived on a deserted island for awhile.  There were 16 boys from my home town who were killed.    

Enough, lets go back when I was in the sixth grade.  My mother was called to serve in the “Civilian Defense”.   She learned about bombs, and where to go.    We were to run to the Copperfield Tunnel go to and it was stocked with food. There bombs that went boom and bombs that just burned the Phosphorous that seem to burn forever.  We were taught how to spray this kind of a bomb. 

Can you imagine going to a store and there was hardy anything there.  And if you did not have a ration book you could not buy things like sugar, butter, cheese, eggs, milk, tea, chocolate, sugar, coffee.  Sometimes there any meats to buy.  Anyone want to eat a horse?  What about no candy bars, paper, pencils, and erasers.  Clothes and shoes.  I remember just how valuable sugar, meat  and gasoline was and how people were selling or trading these coupons.  A neighbor brought us a deer so we hung it in a mine in back of my house. There were no refrigerators or freezers in those days.  As the deer aged a green mold would cover the meat, we would just cut the mold off and eat it. 

They quit building automobiles and even with a coupon the shortages of gasoline and tires kept you home.  After the war I bought a 1931 Chevy that had not been driven for five years. 
As a boy scout I was out gathering all kinds of metal and paper to help the war effort.

Of course I had to tell them that I went to war but not in the World War.  We fought World War 2 to protect ourselves and save the world.  All the rest of the wars have been caused by fear and greed, to make rich men rich.  The Korean War was a stupid war.  We killed four million people, that’s more than all the people in Utah.  I lived in a tent in a rice growing village and I loved the people but hated the leaders we gave them.

Question and Answers
It seemed like the whole class had their hands up asking questions and it was fun and I was able to answer all their questions.  The bell rang and we parted

Letters of thanks
Most all the letters were glad to learn about the old days and what it was like when we were at war.  All the letters said, thank you.
Slavic said, “My grandpa was in a concentration camp and ran away, but he never really told me anything about it, so I was happy when you came. 
Keith, Amber and Kelsea were very interested in the rationing coupons.
Stina told me about his grandpa who was a Marine and he told me what war was like.
Shaylee was especially interested in what we ate.  She could not believe I ate meat that was covered with all that green stuff and liked it. 
Suzana said,  “Made me feel how lucky was to live now and not in the old days. 
Hailee asked,  “How can you remember things that happen so many years ago?  I can’t even remember what happened last week. She also said grandpa’s ship left Pearl Harbor on day before the war started and did not get killed.
Sharlena was sorry I lost my front teeth.
Michael and Suzana were sad to hear about my friends who were killed and was glad I did not die. 
Nicole and Umma were very interested in my life as a kid, and what we did in those days.
Heather could not understand how we could live without a TV.
Matthew said he learned about the 100 million people that were killed.

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