World War II

Basil Hackleman looked up the step ladder into the depths of an old bomber plane similar to one he flew on 11 missions during World War II and recalled how as a 22-year-old man he would jump up and grab the edge of the door to swing himself inside the plane.

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When the world went to war, life for Americans living, working and raising families in the United States was forever changed. The Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor shattered families’ plans, sent patriots racing to the front lines and meant young men suddenly carried the weight of the nation’s freedoms on their shoulders.

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From stunning to sad, a 12-day trip to Japan has produced an array of emotions. The cherry blossoms are more beautiful and more numerous than I can describe. The people are extremely friendly. But none of the things I’ve done matched the power, or the mixture of emotions, of visiting Hiroshima’s Peace Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. That produced several lessons, some of which the museum’s creators may not have envisioned.

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Anoka County Library will offer a look at what life was like for Army infantry soldiers during World War II. The 117th 30th Division Historical Re-enactor Unit will be displaying items that the U.S. Army infantry solider would see and use in the field, and will share their in-depth knowledge of World War II with visitors. This interactive, self-paced program will be at Rum River Library, 4201 6th Avenue in Anoka on Saturday, March 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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In my February issue of the Minnesota Legionnaire, there was a great article about a Flying Tiger from Minnesota by the name of Whitey Johnson from Ortonville.

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