In 2016, I had the amazing experience to sit down with Iowa's last living Pearl Harbor survivor, Clarence Pfundheller of Audubon. While he didn't have a direct connection to Manning, he knew quite a few people from the area and was good friends with Bud & Thelma Mohr and Bud & Elsie McMahon...the reason being both Buds were in the Goochs Best feed business and Clarence was a salesman for Goochs, so they met up quite often.
I spent several days interviewing Clarence and then on the last day I was going to give him the final version to go over one more time, I found out that he was killed in a car accident.
I only knew Clarence for a week but he was the type of person you meet the first time and it's like you knew them your whole life.
I'll start with his story and then show some pictures from the September 2, 1945, world-changing event.
Clarence Pfundheller part 2
Clarence Pfundheller part 3
Clarence Pfundheller part 4
Now the pictures I'm showing below are nothing unique, because you can find all of them on the Internet.
BUT, they are special because they were collected by our Manning Veterans, most who were not actually there but some were either on a nearby ship during the surrender or on the Island of IE Shima, where earlier in mid-August the Japanese envoy landed.
Albert Claussen who is still living and a cousin of the late Ila (Claussen) Rix, was on IE Shima and saw these preliminary events. He purchased these souvenir pictures.
Planes overhead - photo by Al
Note the long Japanese swords that Al mentioned seeing.
Scanned from news magazine articles
Two more Manning boys were overseas during this time frame and also purchased surrender pictures.
One was Joseph Stein...he was stationed in Guam & Saipan at the time.
Duane Wegner, was stationed at Okinawa and purchased several souvenir pictures of the event.
If we were now under Japanese Imperialism or Nazi control, I highly doubt the current protestors would be able to complain and riot like they do right now...they would be shot or disappear during the night, including their family members.
So thank God the United States got involved during WWII to destroy Imperialism, Nazism, and beat back the Communism/socialism that followed.
Thank God we were a "UNITED" States of America and that no matter whether they were descendants of the South or of the North, our BRAVE military personnel preserved the FREEDOMS around the world.
Another situation to think about.
Gene, Duane, Al, Clarence, and probably Joe (as the Army barber), were either training or would have started training for the Invasion of Japan, but for the dropping of both atomic bombs on Japan.
Before anyone with their high and mighty moral values today, judge or criticize those 2 bombs, remember that had the Invasion of Japan, occurred, most, probably all of these 5 guys would have probably been killed...which means they would not have come back to this area to marry and raise children.
My mother still has 2 living cousins who were training for the Invasion of Japan when the Japanese surrendered. While listening to their stories and conversations one time, I noticed they both commented how
their children once were questioning the 2 atomic bombs...both dads then made a statement to their kids "you might NOT be here today if those bombs weren't dropped."
They were surprised at the comment until their dads told them that they were training for the Invasion of Japan and probably would have never returned home, alive.
The kids never mentioned the 2 bombs again.
One thing that I admired about mom's 2 cousins is they both said they weren't for the 2 bombs because it saved their lives, but for the millions of Allies and even Japanese citizens who would have been killed if the Invasion would have occurred.
So before you judge people of the past - educate yourself with that history and PUT yourself in their shoes - you might find that you have a completely different and less judgmental view!