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The 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor: A Sailor and his Ship, the USS Arizona

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
On the USS Arizona, sometime between 1936 and De. 7, 1941.  Probably part of ritual of crossing the Equator for the first time.  Photo likely taken by Frank Bernard.

On the USS Arizona, sometime between 1936 and De. 7, 1941. Probably part of ritual of crossing the Equator for the first time. Photo likely taken by Frank Bernard.

You can easily determine the photographers location when he took the above photo by comparing with the following painting. (click to enlarge any illustrations).

Book cover (see referemces below)  The above photograph seems to have been taken on the foredeck of the Arizona.

Book cover (see referemces below) The above photograph seems to have been taken on the foredeck of the Arizona.

I’ve written often about my Dad’s brother, my Uncle Frank Bernard, who perished on board the USS Arizona, Dec. 7, 1941. My reference link with his – and my – story is here.

In todays post, along with personal comments about Pearl Harbor, I revisit two aspects of the USS Arizona that I have not touched on before:
1) The intersection of the lives of Uncle Frank and the USS Arizona; and
2) reflections from a diver who was assigned to visit the Pearl Harbor grave of my Uncle and the 1176 of his shipmates who perished on-board December 7, 1941.
#1 and #2, below, come from a book I’ve had for 25 years: The Battleship Arizona, An Illustrated History, by Paul Stillwell, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD 1991.

The ship and its crew rest in peace. As I write, this date, there are only a very tiny number of survivors of Dec 7, 1941, still alive.

1) TWO LIVES, AS THEY MET AND MESHED: UNCLE FRANK BERNARD, AND THE USS ARIZONA, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HAWAII AND PEARL HARBOR:
(Info about 1936 forward from pp 323-332 of the Stillwell book)
24 July 1915 – Frank Bernard born in Grafton, North Dakota
12 October 1916 – USS Arizona commissioned at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn.

4 September 1935 – Frank Bernard enlisted in U.S. Navy at Minneapolis MN; his home address 103 Wakeman Avenue, Grafton ND.
8 January 1936 – Frank Bernard transferred to the USS Arizona

15 July – 12 August, 1936 – Frank’s first visit to Pearl Harbor. (The Arizona had been to Hawaii, but only on two occasions, both in the 1920s. It’s previous locations were the western hemisphere, earlier primarily coastal U.S. Atlantic and Caribbean areas; in later years primarily west coast U.S. and Pacific, usually on maneuvers of one kind or another.)

1-4 April 1938 – (at Lahaina Roads. The brief link about Lahaina is interesting.)
8 – 21 April 1938 – Pearl Harbor

The Hawaii years, 1940-41.

10 April – 23 October 1940
(Alternated between Pearl Harbor (PH) and Lahaina Roads (LR)
10-25 April LR
26 April – May 13 – PH
14-23 May – LH
24 May – June 9 – PH
18-21 June – LR
22 June- 14 July – PH
15 July p August 1 – LR
2-19 August – PH
19-30 August – LR
30 August – September 5 – PH
5-9 September – LR
13-23 September – PH
(Most of next three months primarily at Bremerton/Puget Sound WA)

1941
3 February – 10 June PH*
* 17 June – 1 July at San Pedro. Reunion of Frank Bernard with the rest of the Bernard family at Long Beach CA June 22, 1941
8 July – 7 December PH

THOUGHTS FROM A DIVER WHO VISITED THE TOMB (from Battleship Arizona, Stillwell, pp 286-289).

“In 1983-84 Navy and National Park Service divers conducted an underwater archaeological survey of the wreck of the Arizona. The project, which was funded by the Arizona Memorial Museum Association, had several objectives…The results of the study have been published in a book [Submerged Cultural Resources Study] edited by Daniel J. Lenihan, principal investigator for the Submerged Cultural Resource Unit of the National Park Service.

U.S.S. Arizona, U.S. Naval Institute Archives

U.S.S. Arizona, U.S. Naval Institute Archives

[Interview by author Stillwell, 5 Mar 1990] One of the divers on the National Park Service team was Jim Delgado, and he was involved in a follow-up phase of the study in 1988. He has dived on a number of sunken ships, including the collection of naval vessels used for the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946. Despite his considerable experience in the field, he explains that diving on the Arizona was something special. He compares it with being in the Oval Office of the White House or perhaps in Abraham Lincoln’s box at Ford’s Theater. He says that he and other divers did not want to enter the ship because they felt they would be trespassing in an area where they weren’t supposed to be.

When he was under the water, especially in the area where the Arizona’s galley used to be, he could look up and see the people watching him from the cutouts to the sides of the white memorial. As he swam around the submerged hull, he was reluctant to touch it or to look too closely into it. He had a eerie feeling that someone might look back from inside, even though reason obviously told him otherwise. He looked into a hatch and saw all sorts of marine growth and twisted metal choking the entrance, and he noted that the deck was covered with silt. Unexpectedly, something emerged from a hatch, startling him. When it floated into the light, Delgado saw that it was a globule of fuel oil, freed from the Arizona after nearly fifty years. It rose slowly to the top of the water, then spread out to produce a sheen on the surface.

While he was swimming underwater, Delgado was overcome by a sense of time warp. The world above had changed dramatically since 1941, including the building of the memorial. But the hull of the Arizona was largely the same as it had been after the magazine explosion had ripped her asunder. True, she was corroded and covered with marine growth, but the essence was still there – the same hull that had been built seven decades earlier in Brooklyn. Shining his light in through one porthole, he peered into Admiral Kidd’s cabin, which was largely undamaged. He saw heaps on the deck that could have been furniture. On a bulkhead was a telephone; Admiral Kidd had undoubtedly used it many times. Elsewhere he saw the tiles that had been the deck of the galley. On the deck were pieces of silverware and crockery, obvious evidence of human habitation many years earlier. He saw nothing that looked as if it have once been part of a man, and he was relieved not to.

When he swam near the bow, Delgado saw evidence of the cataclysmic explosion that tore the forward part of the Arizona apart. The decks were rippled. Pieces of steel appeared to have been crumpled as easily as if they had been made of paper. Beams and decks were twisted into grotesque shapes. The ship showed some evidence of damage aft, but the hull was largely intact – certainly in comparison with the bow. By the time he dived on the wreck, no ordnance was visible, although divers had seen some 5-inch projectiles earlier in the decade. Delgado and his fellow divers found no sign of the kind of large hole that a torpedo would have made in the side of the ship. When the Park Service divers/historian emerged from the grave of the Arizona, he was covered with oil and filled with a profound sense of having been close to something he calls a “temporal touchstone” because it has so much value now as part of the American culture….”

Dad visits his brother Dec. 18, 2015, represented by his son, Dick, and the blue t-shirt he used to wear when he went for long walks, and the Collette family reunion t-shirt (his mother was a Collette from Oakwood ND).

Dad visits his brother Dec. 18, 2015, represented by his son, Dick, and the blue t-shirt he used to wear when he went for long walks, and the Collette family reunion t-shirt (his mother was a Collette from Oakwood ND).

A PERSONAL REFLECTION: DECEMBER 7, 2016

This is what I know about my Uncle Frank Bernard: he was 26 years old when he died; he was quite a bit older than his fellow crew members. When he went into the Navy, it was, best of all, a job. It was during the Depression; he had been in Civilian Conservation Corps, and getting in the Navy was a good opportunity. He was a ship-fitter, which I understand was like a welder. He was unmarried, but had met someone, probably in Bremerton WA, who he apparently hoped to marry. She apparently was divorced, but I have never been able to learn who she was. He was a good sailor, from basic training on.

My uncle and the 1176 others who perished with him on the Arizona at Pearl Harbor were, I suppose, peace-time casualties – it wasn’t until the next day that war on Japan would be declared.

The men on the ship would have known about Hitler, and the war in Europe, and almost certainly knew that tensions between the U.S. and Japan had been building for many years. At the same time, it was quite clear that the attack on Pearl Harbor was one which was indeed a surprise, not known till the last minute. (I describe an excellent new book about this topic, here.)

I often think that Frank’s Dad, my Grandpa Henry Bernard, was unwittingly part of the history that led to the death of his son.

In 1898, likely in the fever of patriotism around the sinking of the Battleship Maine in Havana harbor, Grandpa and others from the Grafton ND area were among the first ND volunteers to enlist for the Spanish-American War. He and his ND Company spent a year, 1898-99, in the Philippines, which became America’s outpost in what the Japanese considered their sphere of influence. While among the first troops to arrive at Manila, the Spanish had basically already been defeated, and most of their time was spent fighting Filipinos who’d just as soon see the U.S. go home. The company lost four men in battle at Pagsanjan Falls, near Paete, Luzon.

Tour over, in 1899, Grandpa and the crew stopped in Yokahama enroute home from Manila (picture at end of this article). It is a picture that speaks a million words.

By late 1941, war planners thought that the Philippines would be a more likely target than Hawaii for the Japanese.

After the attack:

On Dec. 6, 1941, those on the Arizona and elsewhere at Pearl Harbor, would have had no idea about the deadly four years to come; about 50 million dead in WWII, hundreds of thousands of these, Americans; the Holocaust; the Atomic bomb….

The great prospect of peace which came with the founding of the United Nations in 1945; then the endless wars which someone always declares are necessary, but which never really resolve anything. Each war, it seems, provides a pretext for the next war.

In my opinion, for we, the living, is that the next big war, if it comes, carries the prospect of ending civilization as we have come to know it. Nonetheless, someone will be tempted to “pull the trigger”. It matters who leads.

Our nation’s default setting through almost all of its history has been achievement of power through war. War is what basically built our country; and it is war that expanded our empire to an unimaginable and unmanageable extent.

War brought prosperity; it could as easily bring defeat. There is evil; there will always be war. But we need to guard against war as the first and only solution to problems.

The illusion now sold is that we can again be as we were: the very premise of “Make America Great Again”.

It is a proposition doomed to fail. It can only be achieved at someone else’s expense, which simply ramps up anger and the desire for revenge.

We need to change our national conversation, one conversation at a time.

The solution…or the problem…lies in each one of our hands.

Our future depends on each of us.

Here are a couple of items to possibly help give definition to the years since 1941:
1. A personal compilation of American War Deaths over history: War Deaths U.S.002
2. America at War (from the American Legion magazine): America at War001
(The first is only about American war deaths, simply to help me get some personal definition of the changing problem; but the reality is that we, and many others, now possess the capacity to destabilize and destroy everything…as could have happened had cooler leadership heads not have prevailed in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.)

Also, take 30 minutes to watch the 1971 film entitled Man’s Next Giant Leap. It was produced by my friend Lynn Elling, Naval officer in WWII and businessman, who died some months ago at 94. It can be accessed here. The people who put this film together, business and civic and political leaders, Republican and Democrat, believed in the possibility of peace, and they can be examples for us to follow.

As the hymn goes: “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

Henry Bernard, middle soldier, in Yokahoma Japan, enroute home1899

Henry Bernard, middle soldier, in Yokahoma Japan, enroute home1899

The family members in the story are, at right: Richard, Henry and Esther Bernard.  From left, Henry and Josephine Bernard, Josie Whitaker, and Frank Bernard, Henry's parents and siblings, in Long Beach June 22, 1941.

The family members in the story are, at right: Richard, Henry and Esther Bernard. From left, Henry and Josephine Bernard, Josie Whitaker, and Frank Bernard, Henry’s parents and siblings, in Long Beach June 22, 1941.

COMMENT:
from Annelee: I read Uncle Frank, When will we learn? However, War with Japan and Germany were justifiable.

Response from Dick: There is no question that war was “justifiable” in both instances. However, I do have a couple of points.

First, it has long been my contention that America waited far too long before entering WWII, which began two years before Pearl Harbor. As a country, we were isolationist, and there were other complications such as a – let’s be honest – not terribly friendly attitude towards the Jews, and an otherwise close relationship with Germany in all senses of the word.

Second, I am always interested in when history is deemed to begin. Pearl Harbor didn’t begin our history of relationship with Japan, for instance. We were sowing the seeds long before. My Grandpa and his fellow soldiers enlisted, I’m pretty sure, to support defeating Spain, with the battle cry “Remember the Maine”, but their service was far from Cuba, in the Philippines on the island of Luzon (Manila). The Spanish-American War was Teddy Roosevelt’s war, largely, supported by the Press, and it seems to have been a war of acquisition, not defense. In the end analysis, it really had little to do with Spain, and more to do with American expansion, and in the case of Japan, what became “our” Philippines was within their sphere of influence, and far closer to them than Hawaii. Like us, they apparently had pretenses of power, and we were boxing them in.

Plus, we long had a very dismissive attitude about the Japanese, generally. People my age who grew up in the United States remember things purchased from Japan which were more in the curio class than anything else. “Japan” was a synonym for “cheap”.

Japan and some other places might now be jewels of capitalism, but at what cost in lives in WWII? I think we have a big blindspot in this area, and we’ll find out if we try to “Make America Great Again” the cost of national pride at the expense of others.

A concluding comment: As I write I remember that letter in German written by my Great Uncle in Dubuque IA Feb. 14, 1924 to his relatives in Westphalia (borderland of today’s Netherlands). At the time of his letter, he’d lived in the United States for over 60 years. In a very long sentence, which the translator described as emotion laden, he remembered a slaughter day conversation from perhaps 1850, and comments his grandmother made about the French during the time in the early 1800s when Napoleon had designs on controlling Europe.

He said this: “I will never forget how, each year on slaughter day, as we cut the fat pigs and cows apart, dear grandmother would say if only the dear Lord will let us eat it in peace and good health, and then, each time, she would tell how the French took everything of hers, in addition to all of the oppression they had to endure, and dear grandfather would tell how the French and the Russians took him and his father with (their) horses and wagon to drive under orders for weeks and, how the horses couldn’t go anymore, and how they were then whipped and left by the wayside (to die) and that the Busch’s homestead had been their lawful property but was taken away by the French, no wonder that my father left his home with his sons [for America]. France’s history has always been full of war and revolution for the last three hundred years and Germany was always the oppressed, if they will ever become peaceful?”

The phrase, “you lost, get over it”, takes on new meaning with this very long emotion filled sentence.

“A Matter of Honor” – the 75th anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

matter-of-honor001

A week from now, Dec. 7, 2016, is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. As many know, my Dad’s brother, my Uncle Frank, went down with his ship, the USS Arizona.

(click to enlarge)

Grandson Ryan (taking photo) at the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor,  Dec. 18, 2015

Grandson Ryan (taking photo) at the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Dec. 18, 2015

But for this moment I digress, to call attention to another victim of Dec. 7, Pacific Fleet Admiral Husband Kimmel, who, along with his Army General colleague Lt. General Walter Short, became the “fallguys” for the immensely successful surprise attack by the Japanese. [See postnote at end of this post.]

Nov. 24, 2016 came an e-mail from Thomas Kimmel, grandson of Adm. Kimmel. The contents of the e-mail are below. I first met Mr. Kimmel on-line perhaps 7 years ago. He knows my story, and I was introduced to his.

The full title of the book is A Matter of Honor: Pearl Harbor, Betrayal, Blame, and a Family’s Quest for Justice.” (click on title for the link to Amazon.com).

I bought the book, and have completed it. It is extraordinary. My hope is that many have an opportunity to read and discuss its contents (which, I would argue, apply to situations in the present day). Of course, its focus is Admiral Kimmel and in large part the events that took place during his tour of less than a year as Pacific fleet commander. But if you open the book, your eyes, too, will open. It is a page turner.

The e-mail from Thomas Kimmel:

“On Tuesday, November 15, with the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor
approaching, HarperCollins released a new book A MATTER OF HONOR.

In the aftermath of the disaster, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander in
chief Admiral Kimmel was relieved of command, accused of dereliction
of duty, vilified. What the public was not told was that crucial
pre-attack intelligence, pointing to what was coming, had not been
shared with the commanders. The Admiral and Hawaii’s Army commander
became the scapegoats, the fallguys.

With new information, A MATTER OF HONOR not only tells Kimmel’s story
but resolves long-running controversies, at last clears President
Franklin D. Roosevelt of the charge that he knew the attack was
coming, and uncovers duplicity and betrayal in high places. This is,
too, a heartbreaking human story – of a military man, his sons and
grandsons, in a fight for their family’s honor that is continuing.

High advance praise for the book from historians and military experts
can be found on the book’s Amazon page. A later commander of the
Pacific Fleet, Admiral Lyons, says it is “the most comprehensive,
accurate and thoroughly researched book” on the subject ever written.”
Publishers Weekly says it reads “like a thriller”.

Close to and on the December 7th anniversary, History Channel and The
Movie Network (in the Americas), Channel 4 (in the UK), and BBC
Worldwide will be running documentaries based on the book.

What I [ask is] to post a review of A MATTER OF HONOR on
AMAZON. It’s important to get this information to the public, and
posting a 5-Star review on AMAZON accomplishes that. I assure you
there is nothing in it for me other than supporting Admiral Kimmel’s,
and, accordingly, my goal of getting the full story of the Pearl
Harbor attack available to the American public. It’s amazing how much
new information is contained in the book.

If you do post to AMAZON, good. If you convince others to do so, better.

Feel free to use any of this information on your blog.

Thanks again for your help and interest.”

I will followup on some of my own impressions of the book at this space on Dec. 7, 2016. Suffice for now: I highly recommend that you read the book, and pass the information along to others.

POSTNOTE December 1, 2016: It was not till I was near the end of the book that I noted that restorative legislation had been passed in the 106th Congress, signed Oct. 30, 2000, but was never implemented. Overnite, I accessed the wording of the actual language of the legislation which, to my knowledge, remains in full force and effect, but as yet not implemented. The six page document is here: public-law-106-398001. I plan to deliver in person to the office of my local Congresswoman, and two United States Senators, this legislation along with a note urging their efforts to implement a Law long on the books. I encourage readers to do the same.

The Kimmel website is, aptly, PearlHarbor911attacks. It includes contact information for Thomas Kimmel.

#661 – Dick Bernard: Pearl Harbor Day and the wreckage of the Minnesota Orchestra Lockout

Friday, December 7th, 2012

UPDATE February 23, 2013: Still unsettled…. I sent this letter to the 28 members of the Minnesota Orchestra Association Executive Committee last week. here. Sometime today I’ll again watch the story of Pearl Harbor. [Here’s this years Pearl Harbor reflection]

I also have interest in current affairs, and the recent lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra is an important issue to me, as we are subscribers, locked out like the orchestra from, perhaps, this entire year of concerts. Thus the following post:

Today is the annual meeting of the Board of the Minnesota Orchestra (MO). I didn’t know that till a newspaper column in yesterdays Minneapolis Star Tribune. I had decided, some weeks ago, that December 7 would be an appropriate date to write about the very public catastrophe facing this world class orchestra whose home is downtown Minneapolis MN.

As I write, there are major issues between musicians and management at the Orchestra. The solution for the moment is to lock out the musicians and those of us who bought tickets to the concerts.

For those with little or no interest in or knowledge of the issue, some time ago the Orchestra Board made at least two major decisions: to embark on a major renovation of Orchestra Hall; and to lock-out the Musicians of the Orchestra in a contract dispute, thus almost guaranteeing that the season will ultimately be cancelled (half has already bit the dust.). We subscribers have thus been “locked out” as well.

The Japanese preemptive strike on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and the lockout of Minnesota Orchestra musicians came quickly to mind for me when this conflict affected we ticket-holders. In both cases there was a ‘win’, albeit short-term, for Japan, and for the MO management, but in the long-term it is a rather pyrrhic victory.

(click on all photos to enlarge)

Orchestra Hall Minneapolis MN December 5, 2012

There have been numerous interesting commentaries not necessarily taking one side or another: In the New Yorker was this contribution; last Sunday in the STrib carried this column. There have been many more commentaries. This has become national news.

I happen to have a particular interest in this lockout, since for a lot of years we’ve been a subscriber for six concerts a year, and perhaps have attended two or three more each season. We sit in the fourth row, behind the maestro. Perhaps there are better seats in the house, but we’ve come to like being upfront, and over time you get to know the nature of your neighbors, and they, you. We seem to be fairly typical among our fellow concert-attendees.

All of we customers have become the victims of this conflict. The list of victims is expanding, daily.

I also spent an entire career in and around collective bargaining, so I know the trade, including the foolhardiness of inserting oneself in the middle of a dispute where the real ‘facts’ (issues) may not be visible. All I can say for certain is that at some point there will be a settlement, and the sooner the better that will be for both parties.

As in war, the more protracted and bitter the conflict, the greater the residual damage will be.

In such disputes there are always diverse points of view, strongly felt. In this one, there seems to be value in ranking several top priorities, which I present in alphabetical order below:
Concern for the customers (the people who actually attend the concerts, whether one or a thousand)
New Lobby construction
Power and Control: authority issues
Quality Musicians and others who work for MO
Savings Account (the endowment fund)
Rank these from one to five (most to least important) and you might have a personal idea of where you stand.

Of course, there can be more factors, but these give an idea. As for me, the November 26 Star Tribune printed a letter from myself on the issue, in which I said, in part: “… we buy tickets to hear the Minnesota Orchestra….”

As a result of this letter, I received a number of very interesting phone calls and e-mails, all positive, all expressing similar concerns.

November 24, I sent a U.S. mail stamped letter to all of the 81 listed members of the Minnesota Orchestra Board. It is here: MN Orchestra Nov 24 Ltr001 (There are actually 25 members on the Board, but the Orchestra website lists honorary, emeritus and other Directors as well. They are listed at the end of this post.)

I asked each for “individual acknowledgement of this letter.” So far, no acknowledgements of any kind have been received from any Board member. Perhaps it’s a little too early.

Meanwhile, the hurt goes on as the cement shoes worn by the respective sides seem to be hardening. Maybe there will be a breakthrough, maybe not.

I went by Orchestra Hall Wednesday to take some photos (above, and following at the Hilton across the street), and together the photos evoke for me a very sad situation for a great orchestra in our great community.

I ask good faith bargaining, all cards on the table, and an honorable settlement.

Since it appears that this is essentially a Business driven conflict, I offer a piece of advice to the people who will have to ultimately settle the matter from my good friend, former Governor and successful businessman, corporate owner and philanthropist Elmer L. Andersen, in his memoir “A Man’s Reach” (2000), edited by Lori Sturdevant. At pages 96-101 Mr. Andersen summarizes his four corporate priorities, as follows:
1. “Our highest priority…should be service to the customer.”
2. “The company should exist deliberately for the benefit of the people associated in it.”
3. “[Our] third priority was to make money.”
4. “Our philosophy did not leave out service to the larger community…The quality of life in a company’s hometown is important to that business’s welfare and future….”

Of course, Mr. Andersen was talking about internal priorities within his own company, but still, it is quite good advice, I’d say.

At the Hilton Hotel near Orchestra Hall December 5, 2012

The Dream...December 5, 2012

Directly related post: here.

The Minnesota Orchestra Musicians Union website is here.

The Minnesota Orchestra Board as of December 6, 2012:
* – denotes membership on Executive Committee
Officers
Jon R. Campbell*, Chair, Wells-Fargo Bank
Richard K. Davis*, Immediate Past Chair, U.S. Bancorp
Michael Henson*, President and CEO
Nancy E. Lindahl*, Secretary, Deephaven MN
Steven Kennedy*, Treasurer, Faegre Baker Daniels

Life Directors
Nicky B. Carpenter*, Wayzata MN
Kathy Cunningham*, Mendota Heights MN
Luella G. Goldberg*, Minneapolis
Douglas Leatherdale*, The St. Paul Companies
Ronald E. Lund*, Eden Prairie, MN
Betty Myers, St. Paul MN
Marilyn C. Nelson, Carlson, Minneapolis MN
Dale R. Olseth, SurModics, Eden Prairie MN
Rosalyn Pflaum, Wayzata MN

Directors Emeriti
Margaret D. Ankeny, Wayzata MN
Andrew Czajkowski, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, St. Paul
Dolly J. Fiterman, Minneapolis
Beverly Grossman, Minneapolis
Karen H. Hubbard, Lakeland, MN
Hella Meaars Hueg, St. Paul MN
Joan A. Mondale, Minneapolis MN
Susan Platou, Wayzata MN

Directors
Emily Backstrom, General Mills, Minneapolis
Karen Baker*, Orono MN
Michael D. Belzer, Crescendo Project Board, Minneapolis
David L. Boehnen, St. Paul MN
Patrick E. Bowe*, Cargill, Wayzata MN
Margaret A. Bracken, Minneapolis
Barbara E. Burwell, Wayzata MN
Mari Carlson, Mt. Oliver Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Jan M. Conlin, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, Minneapolis
Ken Cutler, Dorsey & Whitney, Edina
Jame Damian, Minneapolis
Jonathan F. Eisele*, Deloitte Service LP, Minneapolis
Jack W.. Eugster*, Excelsior MN
D. Cameron Findlay Medtronic, Minneapolis
Ben Fowke*, Xcel Energy, Minneapolis
Franck L. Gougeon, AGA Medical Corporation, Plymouth MN
Paul D. Grangaard, Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation, Minneapolis
Jane P. Gregorson*, Minneapolis
Susan Hagstrum, Minneapolis
Jayne C. Hilde*, Satellite Shelters, Minneapolis
Karen L. Himle, HMN Financial, Minneapolis
Shadra J. Hogan, Minnetonka MN
Mary L. Holmes, Wayzata MN
Jay V. Ihlenfeld, St. Paul MN
Philip Isaacson, Nonin Medical, Plymouth MN
Nancy L. Jamieson, WAMSO, Bloomington
Lloyd G. Kepple, Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly, Minneapolis
Michal Klingensmith, Star Tribune Media, Minneapolis
Mary Ash Lazarus, Vestiges Inc, Minneapolis
Allen U. Lenzmeier, Best Buy, Minneapolis
Warren E. Mack, Fredrikson& Byron, Minneapolis MN
Harvey B. Mackay, Mackay Envelope Company, Minneapolis
James C. Melville*, Kaplan, Strangis and Kaplan, Minneapolis
Eric Mercer, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Minneapolis
Anne W. Miller, Edina MN
Hugh Miller, RTP, Winona MN
Anita M. Pampusch, Bush Foundation, St. Paul
Eric H. Paulson, Excelsior, MN
Teri E. Popp*, Wayzata MN
Chris Policinski, Land O’Lakes, St. Paul
Gregory J Pulles*, Minneapolis
Jady Ranheim, Young People’s Symphony Concert Assoc
Jon W. Salveson*, Piper Jaffray & Co, Minneapolis
Jo Ellen Saylor*, Edina
Sally Smith, Buffalo Wild Wings, Minneapolis
Gordon M. Sprenger*, Allina Hospitals and Clinics, Chanhassen
Sara Sternberger* WAMSO, Eagan MN
Mary S. Sumner, RBC Wealth Management, Minneapolis
Georgia Thompson, Minnetonka MN
Maxine Houghton Wallin, Edina
John Whaley, Norwest Equity Partners, Minneapolis
David S. Wichmann*, UnitedHealth Group, Minnetonka
John Wilgers, Ernst & Young, Minneapolis
Theresa Wise, Delta Air Lines, Eagan MN
Paul R. Zeller, Imation, Oakdale

Honorary Directors
Chris Coleman, Mayor, St. Paul MN
Barbara A. Johnson, President, Minneapolis City Council
Eric W. Kaler, President, University of Minnesota
R.T. Rybak, Mayor, Minneapolis MN.

From 11th and Marquette, December 5, 2012

Downtown Minneapolis from 11th and Marquette December 5, 2012

#573 – Dick Bernard: Three Memories on Memorial Day 2012. Frank Peter Bernard, Henry Bernard and Patricia Krom

Monday, May 28th, 2012

SEVERAL UPDATES, INCLUDING PHOTOS at end of this post.

I’m at the age where death is an increasingly regular visitor to my circles. This Memorial Day three deaths come to mind.

The first came when I was 1 1/2 years old, when my Uncle Frank Peter Bernard went down on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor HI. He was 26 years old, and I had “met” him in Long Beach CA five months earlier, at the end of June, 1941.

(click on photos to enlarge them)

Henry Sr, Josephine, Josie, Frank Peter, Richard, Henry and Esther Bernard, Long Beach CA late June, 1941

I’m the family historian, and I recall no talk, ever, about any kind of funeral or memorial service for Frank.

He was from Grafton, ND. On Dec. 7, 1941, his brother, my Dad, was a teacher in the rural ND country school called Rutland Consolidated; his sister lived in Los Angeles; and his parents were wintering in Long Beach CA. Indeed, according to my Dad, they were not sure, for some time, whether or not Frank was dead. His good boyhood and Navy friend, John Grabanske, was reported to have died, though later was found to be very much alive (and lived on, well into his 80s). Here’s my Dad’s recollection, as recounted by myself 50 years after Pearl Harbor: Bernard H Pearl Harbor001

The closest I have to a “memory card” about a formal remembering of Uncle Frank is a long article in the February 17, 1942 Grand Forks (ND) Herald, reporting on a large ND picnic somewhere in the Los Angeles area on about February 12, 1942. Such picnics were common in those days – a gathering of winterers and transplants.

There is a poignant passage which I quote here in part: “A touching incident occurred during the program. [The counsel for the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles] read a press report telling of the death of a young man of Polish descent at Pearl Harbor, the young man being a native of the Grafton area. When he had finished reading a man and his wife arose in the audience, the man asking if he might interrupt for just a moment…the man [my grandfather] said the report of the boy’s death later was found to be in error, but that the man actually killed at Pearl Harbor was the pal of the boy mentioned in the first press report. “The boy killed,” said the man, “was our son!”…The entire audience arose and stood in silence for a moment in honor of the dead hero and the parents who made the sacrifice.”

Uncle Frank’s grave, on the USS Arizona, is probably among the most visited cemeteries in the world. I know his sister, my Aunt Josie, visited there in 1969, but my Dad and his parents never had that opportunity.

The next funeral I remember is for that same Grandfather of mine, who died May 23, 1957 at age 85. I was 17.

His funeral was in Grafton, on May 25, 1957, and many people came to his funeral.

Grandpa was a Spanish-American War Veteran, Philippines, 1898-99. We still have the flag in recognition of his service.

It has 48 stars. Alaska and Hawaii had not yet been admitted as states. It is the flag we raised on a flagpole the family purchased at Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville IL, after Dad died in 1997. We raised the flag on Memorial Day, 1998, dedicating it to Grandpa’s sons, my Dad and Uncle Frank. (Here’s an interesting piece of research about percent of Americans who actually serve in the Military)

Dedication of flagpole with Grandpa Bernards 48 star flag, Memorial Day, 1998, Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville IL

Plaque for the Our Lady of the Snows flagpole, 1998

Time passes on, many more deaths and remembrances of all assorted kinds.

The most recent came on May 19, 2012, in Langdon ND, a memorial service for my cousin Patricia (Brehmer) Krom. Pat actually passed away in Las Vegas on January 25, and there was a memorial service there at that time, but the Langdon area was her home, and my Uncle Vince and I went up for the Memorial Service.

All funerals are alike; all funerals are very different. Pat’s was no exception.

I doubt I will ever forget the eulogy at Pat’s Memorial, given by her husband of 42 years, Kent.

He retraced two lives together in a truly memorable way, one which any one in any relationship for any length of time could immediately relate to; from the first awkward dance at Langdon High School, to her death at only 62 years of age.

Pat Brehmer Krom's life, May 19, 2012

The details are unimportant, except for one which I will always remember. As I recall it, regardless of how their day might have gone, it was a frequent occurrence for exchange of a simple expression of affection: “I love you Kent Krom”; “I love you Pat Brehmer”.

Can’t get better than that.

Arriving back in LaMoure, before I left for home, I picked up a new flag for the flagpole at Vince and Edith’s residence, Rosewood Care Center.

Friday, May 25, at 10:30, they dedicated the new flag to the memory of Patricia Brehmer Krom.

Happy Memorial Day.

Spring at Redeemer Cemetery near Dresden ND May 19, 2012 near the grave of Mary and Allen Brehmer

UPDATES:

Memorial Day, which began as Decoration Day in post-Civil War times, has a long history. Ironically, it was born of what was likely America’s deadliest war ever (in terms of casualties related to the entire population). Americans slaughtered other Americans.

Here are some impressions of today received from individuals. Possibly because the day has an over 140 year history, and because the means of war has changed so much in recent years, making war almost impersonal (see the Pew Research above), there are differing interpretations of what Memorial Day means: is it an event to be solemnly remembered, enjoyed, celebrated, etc.?

How we look differently at the meaning of Memorial Day is good reason for increased conversation among people with differing points of view.

From Susan Lucas: Dick, at the end of your blog you say, “Happy Memorial Day.” I’m afraid I don’t find this day a happy one. The three flags represent our three sons. I’m just so sorry that so many in our society regard Memorial Day as the first day of summer and a three-day weekend to go to the cabin. Anyone who visits Fort Snelling or any other national cemetery can truly appreciate why we have a Memorial Day. While Tom did not die while actually in the service, as the original “Decoration Day” was meant to be, the day should honor all who have been in military service. It’s a day to honor their memory. I question whether it should still be a national holiday when, as Pew Research suggests, so few families are actually impacted by military service anymore.

May 27, 2012, at Ft. Snelling Cemetery from Susan Lucas

From Carol Turnbull: Beautiful!

Scouts observing Memorial Day at a Cemetery in South St. Paul MN, doing upkeep of graves, and placing flags at the stones of veterans.

Scouts at So St Paul cemetery May 28, 2012

Daughter Heather and granddaughter Kelly at grave of Mom and Grandma Diane in So. St. Paul May 28, 2012

The annual commemoration by the MN Veterans for Peace at the State Capitol Grounds, St. Paul MN. Many Vets for Peace, but no means all, are Vietnam Veterans. I have been part of Veterans for Peace for over 10 years.

Veterans for Peace near MN Vietnam Vets Memorial on the MN Capitol Grounds May 28, 2012

Local VFP President Larry Johnson at the MN Capitol area observance May 28

Gita Ghei, whose father was caught in the conflict in western India (a civil war of sorts) at the time the British transferred authority to Indians.

Vet Jerry Rau performs a composition on May 28

Commentary here from Digby related to a Veterans for Peace event in southern California.

Other commentaries on the label “hero” as a topic of contemporary political warfare are here and here.

Of course, such a term is a moving target. In the 2004 Presidential Election, candidate John Kerry, whose military service and heroism in Vietnam was ridiculed by “Swift Boating” negative ads, was made to seem the opposite of what he was: a serviceman who had done his job above and beyond the call of duty. I agree with the assessment that the word “hero” is often misapplied in todays political conversation. Personally, I’m a lucky Vietnam era veteran. I served during the first Vietnam War years 50 years ago, and can prove it. I did everything I was asked to do, and I never left the United States. Indeed, we were preparing a reactivated infantry division for later combat in Vietnam, but in our frame of the time, we had no idea that such a war was developing. We simply did our jobs. If that is heroism, so be it.

But, then, John Kerry was far more a hero than I every thought of being, and he was viciously ridiculed for his service….

President Obama spoke at the Vietnam Memorial on Monday. I had the lucky privilege of having been at that Memorial the very weekend it was dedicated in the Fall of 1982. Vietnam Mem DC 1982001

A little photo album of my service time as a “hero” at Ft. Carson CO can be found on the internet, here. Note my name in the first paragraph, click on the link to the album, and open the link to a few of my “Photographs of 1/61….” in 1962-63.

#486 -Dick Bernard: The 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

It is not hard for me to remember Pearl Harbor Day. Seventy years ago my Dad’s brother, my Uncle Frank, near the end of his 6th year on the USS Arizona, lost his life aboard the ship. I’m old enough to have “met” him, in Long Beach CA, five months before he died. The caption on the photo, written by his mother, my grandmother Josephine, is succinct: “the first time we had our family together for seven years and also the last.” December 7, 1941 and the days following were chaotic. My Dad’s memories, as recorded years later, are in this single page: Bernard Frank Pearl Har001

Immediately came WWII for the U.S. Many kinfolk, including seven of his cousins from a single family in Winnipeg (one killed in action, some in U.S., others in Canadian forces), went off to war Collette boys Winnipeg001.

Last year I sent the Pearl Harbor museum all of the photos and records I have of Uncle Frank, and the photos have been posted ever since on Facebook. (The family photo referred to above is near the end of the album.)

WWII was very short for Uncle Frank. Then came the rest of it.

NOTE: I have written several posts about Uncle Frank. Here are links to the others: Dec. 7, 2009, Dec. 7, 2010, Dec. 9, 2010, Jan. 2,2011, Dec. 7, 2011, May 28, 2012.

Ah, “War”. A good friend and I recently engaged in a conversation about the complicated business called “War” and he asked this question: “What do you think are the rational lessons learned from WWII?”

It’s a fair question, and below are some thoughts on the topic from someone (myself), born on the edge of WW II (1940) who’s a military veteran from a family full of military veterans dating from at least the MN-ND Indian War of 1862-63 through, very recently, Afghanistan.

click on photo to enlarge

New Draftees into WWII, August, 1942, North Dakota

Here’s my informal list.

1. War begets more and ever worse future War. For example, the defeat, impoverishment and humiliation of the Germans at the end of WWI gave Hitler his base for seeking revenge.

2. The American isolationist attitude during Hitler’s rise was not helpful to containing the evil objectives of the Third Reich. This was both pacifist and (primarily) “me first” attitude in an unholy alliance: what was going on in Europe and the Far East during the 1930s was, supposedly, not our problem. By the time the U.S. engaged after December 7, 1941, the die was cast for a horrible, long war. Corollary: politically, spotlighting an ‘enemy’ is far better – and more deadly – than nurturing true ‘friends’.

3. War is much less about heroism than it is about fear and and the reality of death. There is a tendency to feel invincible when you’re young, but that disappears when your buddy beside you ends up dead and you’re at the mercy of the next projectile with your name on it. A very young cousin of mine, American citizen perhaps three years old, was killed in the liberation of Manila, in the supposed sanctuary of a church yard in early 1945. It will never be known whose shrapnel it was that hit her, in her mothers arms, that day. It matters not….

4. War casualties are far more than simply being killed or physically injured. PTSD and other kinds of mental illness is now a known outcome; displacement of non-combatants; homelessness, suicide, property loss and the like are also major (and largely uncounted) casualties from war.

5. Winning a war is illusory and short-term at best. Those who think they’ve won better begin preparing for the next war, which they may lose.

6. The Marshall Plan, following World War II, was a good outcome of War. But it would have been an infinitely better outcome of Peace not preceded by war.

7. War is great for business (but Peace would be even better). “Swords beaten into ploughshares” to tackle future threatening things like resource scarcity, climate change etc., would be great for business, and great for us all, but require changes that business is not inclined to make. The business rule of thumb which I believe prevails: we don’t want it until we can control it and make money off of it.

8. War enables new tyrants, each of whom thinks they’ve figured out how to avoid the mistakes of the previous vanquished victors of earlier wars.

9. The only really new developments of War post WWII are a) horrors of nuclear annihilation (the U.S. has a huge arsenal which is worthless unless we wish to annihilate ourselves); b) terrorism is a new tool, and we have far more home-grown domestic anti-government terrorists than evil others.

10. “They who live by the sword will die by the sword” is ever truer and deadlier. Mass annihilation is ever more possible. In the recent wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. human casualty count was relatively low. This was overshadowed by huge Iraqi casualties, and population destabilization and displacement, and massive debts incurred by the U.S. to wage war. We bred resentment, not friendship. While we were not brought to our knees physically, this time, we were nearly destroyed economically. Here is the U.S. physical casualty count from past wars, from The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2007. War Casualties U.S.001

Reasonable estimates of deaths from war in all countries in the the previous century approach 100,000,000. War is usually,in the end, a creature of convenience than of necessity – an easy but deadly way to attempt to solve problems. That is another rational learning, in my opinion….

With the greatest respect for all victims of war, I urge Peace.

#306 – Dick Bernard: Frank Peter Bernard, U.S. Navy 1935 – 1941, USS Arizona

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

It was on a Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, that my Uncle, Frank Peter Bernard, was killed on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor HI.

Each December 7 I remember that day, and indeed, am reminded of that day, as the iconic film clip of the Arizona being hit by the bomb is shown.

Dec. 7, 2010, was no different, until an e-mail arrived late in the afternoon from Dave Calvert, someone unknown to me. The e-mail included two photographs of his Dad, Max Calvert, and my Uncle, taken in 1938 at Long Beach CA. The photographs (below) seemed familiar, and I looked in my collection and found two photos taken at exactly the same place on the same day, one of them identical to the one of Max and Frank; the second with my Uncle and his Dad, my Grandpa Henry Bernard.

The miracle of the internet!

Max Calvert and Frank Bernard, Long Beach CA 1938

Max’s son and I met each other through the ‘twin’ photos. His Dad, he said, was an Iowa farm kid actual first name Howard, who had joined the Navy and at the time of the photo was secretary for the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Adm. Husband E. Kimmel, on the USS San Francisco. Uncle Frank, two or three years older, was a small town kid from North Dakota. How Max and Frank became friends is unknown; as is why they happened to show up at the same place as my grandparents were then visiting. But it was a fascinating story.

The handwritten caption on the back of Max’s photo said it was taken in November of 1938. The mechanical stamp on the back of my photos identified the date the film was processed as August 15, 1938. Such small discrepancies are common in history work. Most likely, because of the photo processing date stamp, the photos were taken in August in Long Beach. The Arizona was in port at San Pedro August 12-15.

The surprise event caused me to write an e-mail to the National Park Service at Pearl Harbor, telling them I had some photos to share of Uncle Frank. In late December, I received a reply, and sent jpeg’s of all of them for the National Park Service Library at Pearl Harbor.

Last night I decided to post the collection on Facebook. You can view them all here. Double click on any photo to get a larger version. Hold the cursor on the photo to see the caption.

Not at Facebook, but also provided to the Park Service, are three text items relating to my Uncle Frank who, in his short 26 years of life, became, unintentionally, an actor in World War II: Arizona014; Memory017; Fam History015

Frank is at peace; May we all be at Peace as well.

Model of USS Arizona hand-crafted by Bob Tonra ca 1996; goblet, one of six made by Frank Bernard on USS Arizona (size 6 inches high); leaves are Hawaiian, gift from a friend in 1998.

A newspaper column I wrote in 2005 about the end of WWII is at this link:Atomic Bomb 1945001

#292 – Dick Bernard: “Remember the Maine”; USS Arizona; “Never Forget” LPD 21 USS New York

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

December 7, 1941, my Uncle Frank Bernard was minding his own business on the USS Arizona, berthed at Pearl Harbor, HI. Without doubt he was awake at the time a Japanese bomb destroyed his ship and snuffed out his life. 1176 shipmates also died that day. Frank was definitely at the wrong place at the wrong time. Every year on this date, no doubt today as well, I will see a photo or a film clip of the Arizona blowing up.

I am the only one of my siblings old enough to have ever actually met Uncle Frank; the last time at the end of June, 1941, in Long Beach, California.

Bernard Family Reunion at Long Beach CA late June, 1941. Frank is in the center, Dick, 1 1/2, is next to him.

Frank had served on the Arizona since 1936. Though he seems to have been engaged to someone in Bremerton WA, he likely intended to be a career man in the Navy.

Frank Bernard, Honolulu, some time before Dec. 7, 1941

Wars are never fought without reasons, or consequences. They are collections of stories, often mythology masquerading as fact. One war succeeds the last war. That’s just how wars are.

Frank’s Dad, my Grandpa Henry Bernard, 43 years earlier had enlisted to serve the United States in what he always called the Spanish-American War in the Philippines. He was very proud of this service, which lasted from the spring of 1898, to the summer of 1899. The pretext for this war was the explosion of the USS Maine in Havana harbor. Whatever actually caused the explosion was blamed on the Spaniards, and led to an outpouring of patriotic fervor in the U.S. “Remember the Maine” was the battle cry.

Grandpa’s unit, one of the first to the Philippines, never actually fought any Spaniards – he and his comrades were hardly off the boat near Manila when the Spanish surrendered. His battles were with the Filipino “insurgents” who were glad to be rid of the Spaniards, and just wanted the Americans to go back where they came from. That war is now called the Philippine-American War – a term Grandpa wouldn’t know.

In Henry’ company was his future wife’s cousin, Alfred Collette. Some years after the war, Alfred returned to the Philippines, becoming successful, later marrying and living the rest of his life in the Philippines.

After Pearl Harbor, the first major conquest of American territory by the Japanese was the Philippines…. Alfred was imprisoned at the notorious Santo Tomas. During the final battle for the liberation of Manila in 1945 his second child, named for my grandmother Josephine, was killed by shrapnel from either the liberators or the Japanese. She was only four years old, in her mother’s arms. Her two siblings witnessed her death.

Seven of Uncle Frank’s cousins in Canada, all from the same family, went to WWII, three in the Canadian Army, four in the U.S. Army. One of the seven died in combat. Others from my families served as well, as did neighbors. Most survived; some didn’t.

Alfred Collette, 1898, Presidio San Franciso CA

Henry Bernard, middle soldier, in Yokahoma Japan, enroute home1899

Which brings to mind the USS New York LPD 21.

On Thanksgiving day came one of those power point forwards celebrating the launch of the Amphibious Transport Ship the USS New York, a ship partially manufactured out of the wreckage of the World Trade Centers September 11, 2001. The internet is awash with items about this ship, commissioned in November of 2009.

A key caption of the powerpoint said that the New York’s contingent was “360 sailors, 700 combat ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft”, apparently roaming the world at the ready to do battle with the bad guys wherever they were. The transport has “twin towers” smokestacks,

I could see the attempt at symbolism in the power point: “don’t mess with the U.S.”. The boat plays to the American fantasy that we are an exceptional society, more deserving than others.

But, somehow, I failed to see the positive significance of this lonely boat, roaming the world, looking for opportunities to do battle against our enemies.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of geographic knowledge to know how immense this world is, and how tiny and truly insignificant is a single ship with about 1000 U.S. servicemen, no matter how highly trained and well-equipped they might be.

It seems we have better ways to use our money.

Uncle Frank was technically a peace-time casualty – War wasn’t declared against Japan until after he was dead. He and his comrades at Pearl Harbor who also died were only the first of hundreds of thousands of Americans, who joined, ultimately, millions of others who became casualties of WWII. A few of Grandpa Henry’s comrades were killed on Luzon, and till the end of his life in 1957 in Grafton ND there was an annual remembrance at the monument in front of the Walsh County Court House.

The triumph of war is what we seem to remember.

The horror of war is what we best “never forget”.

Peace takes work, lots of it. Let’s work for Peace.