The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Our Veterans, Through A Child's Eyes 

-by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher

Eight year old Jacob Dance of rural Stronghurst will be a 3rd grader at West Central this fall. He is proud to be a boy scout and he enjoys learning about the great accomplishments of Americans, including those in our area.

Attending Sunday's services at the Stronghurst Cemetery with his mom, Jennifer, and sister Isabel, gave him a chance to see what Memorial Day is really about.

Seeing veterans proudly and ever so carefully present the United States flag and the American Legion flag, and watching the firing squad carry their guns, "made me feel pretty good, it's so amazing what they have done," Jacob said.

Later, hearing the loud shots of their 21-gun-salute to honor all U.S. soldiers who have died "was quite a sight!"

Jacob heard United Methodist Pastor Gene Turner of Stronghurst give a short talk and Jimmy Jacob played patriotic music on his saxophone including the National Anthem, which he knew well.

Curt Eisenmayer read the roll of all military graves in Stronghurst Township plus in Walnut Grove and Carman Cemeteries.

Then, Veteran Dale Anderson, Commander of the American Legion Firing Squad conducted a 21-gun salute in their honor.

The traditional Taps were played that was first used during the Civil War in July of 1862.

Then Jacob heard the Buglers, Eric Hilligoss and Tyler Anderson, play Taps with echo.

Jacob saw that a good crowd attended and that two young soldiers in brilliant white attire stood out in the crowd from the rest. They were two young servicemen, John Buss-U.S. Navy (and son of his principal at West Central), and Clayton Grafton-U.S. Navy Submarine. It was an amazing day.


Below, Jacob Dance expressed his thoughts in a report for his 2nd grade teacher at West Central.

His grandmother Judy Roessler, and Mrs. Virginia Ross of the "Turning Pages Book Club" interviewed Mr. Don Brown of Galesburg, one of many veterans who had gone through the North Platte canteen in Nebraska while he was serving in World War II.

Jacob's mother wanted him to go along with his grandmother so he could actually talk with a World War II veteran.

"I wanted to expose him for a couple hours, to the life of a WW II veteran. It won't be long before there will be no one left from that era that he can meet," she explained.

Jacob is fascinated with World War II aircraft, ships, weapons, and the history behind them. He also enjoys watching anything on TV about WW I to Desert Storm, and especially the "dog fights" of the aircraft, his mother said.

The following is Jacob's second grade report of what he remembered from visiting a veteran who had been in the Pacific and many islands as well as at the canteen at North Platte:

On The Road To North Platte

by Jacob Dance (West Central 2nd Grade Report)

"Once I interviewed Don Brown, a world war II veteran. He was in the U.S. Navy.

He knew the natives and the ladies wore grass skirts and necklaces and the men wore shorts made of animal skins and necklaces.

One night there was a bombing raid from the Japanese. It blew up one ship and put a dent in another ship.

There was a tent that had a screen in it and there was a projector in another building that was made of bamboo. One night there was a storm. A lot of people on 1,000 ships got sea sick and could not hold down their food.

The worst injury he had was a five inch cut. It didn't bleed too badly.

He went to many different islands. The biggest island was 2.5 miles around and very small. The smallest island was 1.8 miles long and still very small. But there was one smaller than that. It was 1/2 of a mile long...

There was a tent that was a barber shop. The tent was 18 feet around.

In the war you did not get presents on your birthday.

When America won the battle we dropped the big bomb on Japan and the war was over, at least for him anyway. He had a blind date and that date became his wife. And now that he has met me, hopefully he will meet you."

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Quill appreciates Jacob sharing his experiences and for his help in saluting our veterans who have served us so bravely, and the importance of passing on the stories that have made America strong.