After the successful exhibit “The Great War” about World War One, the Slater Area Historical Association wanted to do an exhibit about World War Two. The result is the new display “Unsung Heroes of World War Two”, stories of hometown men who saw, experienced, and suffered during that war and who never talked about what they had been through.
There’s LuVerne (Red) Fitch, who was a fireman on the USS Bunker Hill, an aircraft carrier. It was hit by two kamikaze (Japanese suicide planes) and suffered over 600 casualties but made it back to port, the most damaged ship to do so. He never talked about what he must have seen and done.
And another Navy man, Ted Rimathe, who was in the crow’s nest of the USS Maryland which was docked next to the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Oklahoma sank in 20 minutes, trapping men on board. Ted helped rescue and recover the sailors.
Rudy Zagar, who was captured at Corregidor, an island in the Philippines, spent 3 1⁄2 years in a Japanese prison camp doing slave labor. He never talked about it.
Dale Cluck, who fought in France and was terribly wounded and left for dead, came home and made a life although terribly handicapped.
And lastly the ultimate sacrifice, Joe Perzell, “Smilin’ Joe”, who died at Iwo Jima.
Each of these men has a story which the Association is honored to tell. This is a growing exhibit as more people come forward with the stories of their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and brothers, recounting the danger and drama of the war experience. Also in this exhibit, “Women at War - World War 2”. Heritage Hall Museum, 318 First Avenue, Slater, is open on Thursdays 10-2, or by request. Call 515-480-9789 or 515-228-3293. The Hall welcomes groups.