This morning, at the State Capitol Rotunda in St. Paul, I’m honored to read two brief tributes to WWII veterans which appear in the 2009 edition of the MN Blue Book, being released today.
I saw a flier on “Vote in Honor of a Veteran” in the summer of 2008, and wrote the two tributes a year ago this month, forgetting I’d done them until recently when I was informed they’d be in Minnesota’s official book. They are among quite a number of other tributes to veterans living and dead. It will be an interesting morning. 10:30 a.m. at the State Capitol Rotunda if you happen to be in the area and interested. (The event was originally scheduled in a smaller venue, but apparently there is a lot of public interest.)
The tributes are to my Dad’s cousin, Marvin Campbell, many years a resident of Brainerd and Crookston, who passed on in 2006, and to another, an important mentor of mine, 88 year old Lynn Elling of Minneapolis.
Pictured above are buddies Marvin Campbell and Frank Peter Bernard (my Dad’s brother), July 14, 1935. Marvin idolized Frank. At the time of the photo, Marvin was 16, and Frank had just turned 20. Two months later, Frank reported for basic training in the Navy. Six months later Frank reported for what turned out to be his permanent and last assignment: the USS Arizona.
The brief thumbnail of Marvin Campbell tells most of the rest of their veteran story. #mce_temp_url#
Unfortunately, rough drafts of history (as mine was, last year) are sometimes hurriedly done, and thus have errors. So it was with the piece I wrote which appears in the book. Marvin Campbell was indeed a bank president, but much of his time as a bank president was in Brainerd MN. He was active in the National Guard there, and proud of the recognition the Brainerd Guard gave to the casualties and survivors of the Bataan Death March in 1942, many of whom were from Brainerd.
Lynn Elling had just completed his degree at the University of Minnesota when he was called up for Navy duty in 1943. His time in the Navy was spent as a junior officer on LST 172 in the south Pacific. (“LST” officially means Landing Ship Tank; but in Navy gallows humor, it meant Large Slow Target.) They were the workhorses for the military, endlessly hauling materiels within the war zone, thus the gallows humor.
The tribute to Lynn is at #mce_temp_url# . The millioncopies website referenced there includes a longer description of Lynn and his work which I wrote a couple of years ago. Do take a look. #mce_temp_url#
It may seem odd that someone like me who is pro-Peace (and anti-War as a solution to problems) will write tributes to veterans. It’s not at all odd to me. I am a veteran myself, from a family full of military veterans. Service mattered. We thought (and we probably were) generally working to protect our country. In recent years, the orientation seems to have changed.
We work towards Peace in the ways available to us, and at the times we see wrong, and work to right it (to borrow a quotation from Ted Kennedy, at his brother Robert;s funeral in 1968).
In particular, Lynn Elling’s work for Peace lives on in the organization World Citizen, of which I am currently Vice-President. Do visit #mce_temp_url#