I received a gift of some wonderful older yearbooks from a Scipio man last week. They are the 1939 and 1943 issues of The Echo from Emily Howland Central School (EHCS). Now known as Emily Howland Elementary, this school has been in operation for many years in the Town of Scipio.
Some of the same teachers that I saw in their later years were in those pages, fresh-faced as the students. I found two of my father’s sisters in the grade school photos - Nancy Stoker Goodnough and Isabelle Stoker Mason. Younger versions of my aunts smiled back at me along with many other familiar faces. I have already placed the yearbooks in Scipio’s History Corner and hope you find some time to come flip through the pages and reminisce.
By 1943, the United States was involved in World War II. The 1943 “Echo” opens to a full-page photo of classmate Gordon R. Stewart, accompanied by a moving tribute to his sacrifice for his country.
Gordon R. Stewart was a Scipio boy who became a Marine Corps Private, and he was awarded the Purple Heart. September 25, 1942 is given as his date of death. His name is inscribed forever on the Tablet of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery.
From the American Battle Monuments Commission website at http://www.abmc.gov/home.php I learned that the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines occupies 152 acres on a prominent plateau, visible at a distance from the east, south and west. It contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II, a total of 17,202. Most of them lost their lives in operations in New Guinea and the Philippines. The headstones are aligned in 11 plots forming a generally circular pattern, set among masses of a wide variety of tropical trees and shrubbery.
On rectangular piers are inscribed the Tablets of the Missing, containing another 36,285 names. Gordon R. Stewart is one of them.
There is also an Editorial in the 1943 Echo by Patricia Keogh. She describes the two flags displayed that year at EHCS; one, the American Flag and the other the service flag. Each blue star on the service flag stood for a boy or girl from EHCS gone to the war. Each gold star stood for those who in Patricia’s words “have died that we might live.” The service flag had two gold stars that year.
Raymond H. Maassen was a second Scipio boy who was awarded the Purple Heart for his brave service to his country in World War II. His name is inscribed alongside that of his classmate on the Tablet of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery. A Private in the US Marine Corps who was present at Guadalcanal, his date of death is given as 26 September 1942.
I searched World War II battle dates on the internet, and found that the Battle of Guadalcanal was fought between August 7, 1942, and February 9, 1943, in the Pacific theater of World War II. The fighting took place on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the southern Solomon Islands.
The first U.S. Marine operation and attempt to attack Japanese forces west of the Matanikau River, conducted between September 23 and September 27, 1942, by elements of three U.S. Marine battalions, was repulsed by troops under Akinosuka Oka's local command. During the action, three U.S. Marine companies were surrounded by Japanese forces near Point Cruz west of the Matanikau, took heavy losses, and barely escaped with assistance from a U.S. Navy destroyer and landing craft manned by U.S. Coast Guard personnel. It would seem likely that this is the battle that cost these Scipio men their lives.
Both these men from our small town of Scipio served their country during World War II and their honorable service resulted in them never seeing Scipio again. I'm grateful their country recognized this sacrifice and awarded them the Purple Heart. I will share a photo of Gordon from the 1943 yearbook on this blog, just use this link: https://picasaweb.google.com/sandie.gilliland/1943YearbookPhotos?authkey=Gv1sRgCOH2r4eIkq93&feat=directlink
I invite you to stop by Scipio to see the rest of these yearbooks. Maybe you have a memory to share of Gordon or Raymond, or someone else from Scipio. I would enjoy hearing from you.