"When the United States entered World War II, the U.S. government turned to ordinary Americans and asked of them extraordinary service, sacrifice, and heroics. Many Americans met those high expectations...These men and women came of age in the Great Depression...They had watched their parents lose their businesses, their farms, their jobs, their hopes. They had learned to accept a future that played out one day at a time...When Pearl Harbor made it irrefutably clear that America was not a fortress, this generation was summoned to the parade ground and told to train for war.
They answered the call to help save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs.
They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. At a time in their lives when their days and nights should have been filled with innocent adventure, love and the lessons of the workday world, they were fighting...in the most primitive conditions possible. They fought their way up a necklace of South Pacific islands few had ever heard of before and made them a fixed part of American history -- islands with names like Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Okinawa...They went to sea on hostile waters far removed from the shores of their homeland.
For many, the war years were enough adventure to last a lifetime. They were proud of what they accomplished but they rarely discussed their experiences, even with each other. They became once again ordinary people, the kind of men and women who always have been the foundation of the American way of life."
-- Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation
This is my grandfather (my mom's dad) (far right - the strikingly handsome one!), Roy Lindorf, who at the youthful age of 22, supervised and directed the administrative work of the 160th Infantry division as a First Sergeant in a heavy weapons (machine gun) company in the United States Army.
Here is a quick time line of his life during those years:
March 3, 1941 -- Inducted, sent to Camp San Luis Obispo
Oct. 12, 1941 -- Roy and Myla (my grandmother) are engaged to be married
Dec. 7, 1941 -- Pearl Harbor bombed
Dec. 7, 1941 -- Shipped to Fort MacArthur, Los Angeles
April 1942 -- Shipped to Ft Lewis, Washington
June 1942 -- Promoted to First Sergeant, Age 22
Sept. 1, 1942 -- Baptized LDS church, American Lake, Washington
Sept. 4, 1942 -- Married Myla B. Stay at Ft Lewis, Washington by Chaplain Neslin
Sept. 5-7, 1942 -- Honeymoon, Vancouver, BC
Sept. 1942 -- Shipped to Camp Stoneman, Pittsburg, CA
Sept. 26, 1942 -- Sailed out of San Francisco Bay to island of Hawaii (21 days after getting married!)
June 5, 1943 -- Bruce Lindorf born, Roy becomes a father!!!!!!
Sept. 26, 1943 -- While pondering in a pineapple field, Roy received inspiration that he would survive the hostilities intact AND he would be home by July 1945. Here is an excerpt from a letter written to Myla (his wife): "Let's set our star for July 1945. I feel so sure that the time of victory will be so close to that moment that you could touch it with the end of your little finger."
Christmas 1943 -- Shipped to Guadalcanal - next 18 months spent on various islands in South Pacific, involved in very risky, scary times battling and chasing Japanese in the hills of the Philippines
May 9, 1945 -- Relieved from combat duty in Panay
July 1, 1945 -- Depart Panay to Leyete; 3 week trip by ship to Los Angeles
July 28, 1945 -- Discharged, Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, CA
Aug. 6, 1945 -- Atom Bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan (also the day MY father was born!)
Aug. 9, 1945 -- Atom Bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan
Aug. 14, 1945 -- Japan Surrenders
This is the last bit of his story...when he got discharged and was able to go home.
"When I got discharged...I found my way to the Red Car, rode it to Slauson Avenue, got off and caught a bus to Pacific Blvd, got on a street car, got off and transferred to the bus that went within a block of where Myla lived. It was about 9pm by the time I got there. I had my big barracks bag with me. I heard her in the kitchen, so I quietly pulled open the screen door and threw my Army hat in. Myla was scared to death, too! She was also doing everything she could so that she wouldn't have to work the next day. I had called and said I would be home the next day. She was frying chicken, making potato salad, and making a chocolate cake. She had taken a bath and had her hair up in curlers and was running around doing all these things in an old baggy nightgown. What a reunion!"
He hadn't seen his wife for almost 3 years and had NEVER met his son Bruce who was 2 years old by the time he came home.
I am so thankful for the stories and books I have about his service in WWII...it has really helped me understand and appreciate his sacrifice for us better.
Today I am thankful for all of those who have made similar sacrifices. For those who never came home, and for the families who allowed their fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, sisters, wives, daughters leave to serve our country and to fight to protect freedom.
I will end this tribute with a quote from Harold B. Lee,
"Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail. This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of the new Jerusalem. This is the place that the Lord said is favored above all other nations in all the world. This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple. This is the favored land in all the world. Yes, I repeat, men may fail, but this nation won't fail. I have faith in America ; you and I must have faith in America , if we understand the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are living in a day when we must pay heed to these challenges.
I plead with you not to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. This is the favored land. This is the land of our forefathers. It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through."
(Ye Are the Light of the World, 350-51)