By Jesse Church
Aloha all my fellow veterans and residents of Molokai, old Jesse here with all the veterans news and upcoming events. The National Civil War Memorial has gotten started. The Living Legacy Project that is part of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership has plans to honor every one of the 620,000 American killed in the Civil War with an individual tree. So far this year, some 2,000 trees have been planted with about 8,000 more trees scheduled to be planted in 2015. The trees are planted along a 180-mile route through the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia, and stretch from Gettysburg to Monticello.
According to an article in the May 2015 VFW magazine titled “Section 60” by Robert M. Poole, Master Sgt. David. V. Hill, a former Green Beret, was at Arlington National Cemetery, section 60, where many Iraq and Afghanistan KIAs are interned. He was there, as he put it, to visit a friend, Army Major Jeffery P. Toczylowski, known to his friends as Toz, who had fallen from a chopper in Iraq. After his death, Toz’s friends and family received an email from the departed major. “If you are getting this email, it means that I have passed away,” Toz wrote. He invited them to his service at Arlington. He wrote there would also be a party in Vegas and he had set aside $100,000 to cover travel, rooms and other expenses for those attending his farewell party. A year after his death, more than 100 friends traveled to the Palms Hotel in Vegas, where his mother Peggy greeted well-wishers, barmaids served liquor from an open bar and a disc jockey turned up the music. A life-sized cardboard cutout of Toz stood over the all-night party. Very few military personnel have left the service with Toz’s flair. But all the KIAs interned in section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, along with Toz, will be remembered and sorely missed by family and friends. Come to section 60 often, as Hill put it, to visit.
June 6, 1944 is known as “D-Day,” when the Allied forces swept ashore with a vengeance on the beaches of Normandy in France. It was a marvelous and absolutely well-thought-out logistical feat, the likes of which had never before been seen. Some 175,000 men landed on the first day, and that number rose to 325,000 the first week and eventually totaled 2.5 million men. They were delivered by 5,300 ships, 50,000 vehicles and 11,000 planes. After a last ditch counterattack, known as the Battle of the Bulge, Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.
In answer to the question in last week’s column, the American flag on Aug. 14, 1945 was flying over the White House on the day the Japanese agreed to the terms of surrender. They didn’t sign the formal surrender agreement until September of that year.
I wish to thank all the people of Molokai for their support of our troops in harm’s way, and also thank you for your support of Molokai’s veterans. If anyone has any questions, suggestions or news, please contact old Jesse at 553-3323. Everybody have a wonderful week, and remember old Jesse loves every person on Molokai dearly. So until next week, aloha.