Friday, July 04, 2008
Tinney Chapel salutes Carl Griffin, Travis Brewer, Harold Lenius & Glen Wood, World War II Veterans, on this Independence Day
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Tinney Talk, Observations by Joe Dan Boyd
IF A PICTURE IS TRULY WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, as is often said, then imagine the added value of a 65-year-old picture that unexpectedly surfaces after being given up for lost. Such was the case recently for Harold Lenius, who posed for the picture as a U.S. Navy Petty Officer, while stationed in Brisbane, Australia, during World War II.
IT WAS LIKE OPENING A TIME CAPSULE for Harold, who will celebrate his 90th birthday in October. Born just 17 days before the World War I Armistice in 1918, Harold was 23, and nearly three years married, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, plunging America into World War II. His brother Robert had already joined the Marines, and five of Harold’s cousins served in the War.
HAROLD WAS IN UNIFORM before a year had passed, had kissed Janette goodbye, had completed Boot Camp in Idaho, and had boarded a troop ship bound for Australia, then a 21-day journey from America. There, in Brisbane, Harold helped build, equip and service a very specialized Naval base, where he began his Navy career as a metal worker to keep ships afloat. It was an easy switch for Harold, who had been an automobile metal worker before the War.
ONE OF HAROLD’S COUSINS, JUNIOR WHITE, would survive the sinking of two U.S. Navy ships, both shot out from under him, and live to tell both tales. Harold’s Navy orders would next take him to the Admiralty Islands, and finally to the Philippines, where he remembers the joy and jubilation caused by a terse radio announcement: The Japanese had surrendered, ending World War II.
THE VOYAGE HOME WAS MUCH SHORTER, perhaps by half, recalls Harold, who landed first at Swan Island on the West Coast before being processed from active duty in Portland, Oregon. A troop train returned him to Minneapolis, and from there he found his way back to Janette, to civilian life and a long career as a metal worker. Eventually, Harold opened his own successful metal shop in Waverly, Iowa.
RETIREMENT FOUND HIM IN WINNSBORO, TEXAS, where his beloved Janette passed from this life on January 9, 2004, an event which led, indirectly, to Harold’s decision to join Tinney Chapel UMC less than four months later.