August 2nd…“DID YOUR PARENTS EVER SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS WHEN WORLD WAR TWO CAME TO AN END IN 1945?”
I can only imagine what it must’ve been like to have been alive back on September 2nd of 1945. The exuberance must’ve been palpable to have witnessed the shear energy of elation that exuded from every freedom-loving man, woman and child in the world after the carnage of World War II finally came to an end!!! There, in Japan’s Tokyo Harbor, sat the mighty USS Missouri Battleship. Overhead, seemingly unending masses of American fighter planes and bombers flew in celebratory formations past the battleship as the delegates of the Japanese Empire put their signatures to the surrender document that once again brought peace to our world.
In today’s sharing, I want to let my young readers (and other friends that tag along here) to know of men from both sides of our Noorlun/Sletten families that served in that great conflagration. The young men, of our respective clans, were part of the mighty force of 16 million men and women who, collectively, conquered the evil alliances that sought to domineer and dictate the world in ways that were the antithesis of all we believe in as Americans. And, how very grateful to God we are that all of our family soldiers came home safely. Not so, for other families, though. Over 407,000 American men and women died in World War II, paying the ultimate price for the freedoms that we still all enjoy to this very day.
Our mother, Clarice Arlone Sletten Noorlun, saw both of her brothers serving in the Army during that giant, global conflict. To my recollection, her brother, Bob, served in the Tank Corps in France and other areas of Europe during the war. He even brought home an accordion that he found in a bombed out house in France. He learned to play it and serenaded us at family picnics with his war souvenir. Mom’s other brother, Del, served in the Army Infantry in the country of Italy and took part in the arduous mountain fighting against their very tenacious German enemies. His regiment received the Presidential Citation Award for their gallant and valiant actions against the Germans. In her reflections of the war, I remember my mother sharing with me…….“We (she and our father, Russell) were living on a farm called, “Cocklebur Hill”, just south of Vinje, Iowa. When we got the news that the war was over, all I could think of was….NOW, Del and Bob can come home!”
My father, Russell, saw two of his own brothers enter the US Army and served Uncle Sam as they left Minnesota for parts across the world from where they grew up. If I remember, My Uncle Doren E. Noorlun served as a motorcycle messenger which was vital in getting documents and orders to the front lines of battle so that high-ranking officers could then make proper judgement calls for troops to move accordingly towards victory. When I learned of Doren’s motorcycle-related duty during the War, it made so much sense to me, for he handled a Harley Davidson motorcycle like a professional. Especially the time when he took tiny me for a ride that I loved so much! I can still smell the leather saddlebags and hear the “scrunching” leather sound as we climbed on and off that handsome Harley of his.
My dad’s other brother, Erwin, chose a specialized path of adventure while in the US Army. He joined the Paratroopers. These were young men who went through very rigorous training AND, learned how to jump out of C47 aircraft (DC3 in civilian life) with parachutes on. In order to earn your “Wings”, you had to gather the courage to make not just one, but FIVE different parachute jumps from out of that aircraft and land successfully.
Even though my Grandfather, Edwin A. Noorlun, (far left in photo above) was a very quiet man, he STILL must’ve been beside himself with joy as his two sons came home safe and sound from their experiences while in the Army. To have peace again in the world, after millions experienced such unimaginable death and destruction between 1941 and 1945……well…..such a celebration there must have been. Forever shall there be a grateful heart for them all inside this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.