Typography

Some 76 years ago tomorrow, the United States’ naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was attacked without warning by aircraft launched by the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The unprovoked attack pulled the country into World War II, which Americans had watched with trepidation for more than two years, offering finan­cial and materiel assistance to the Allies, but largely remaining neutral in the conflict as Nazi Germany and fascist Italy conquered European states and the Empire of Japan rolled across the Far East.

Frank Buster Redfield

My grandfather, Frank Leslie Redfield, joined the U.S. Navy immediately after the attack and served aboard the USS Princeton, an Independence-class aircraft carrier sunk at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944, surviving the open sea until he and other sailors were rescued.

After he was discharged from the Navy, he immediately re-enlisted in the Army and served in North Africa and Italy. 

The three Axis states, later joined by Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, espoused fascist values of dedication to the state, suppression of personal liberty and subjugation of neighboring nations and countries they deemed racially or politically inferior.

Great Britain remained the lone holdout, taking in refugees and escaped soldiers from conquered nations, and vowing to never surrender to the fascist behemoth. The communist Soviet Union became Britain’s unlikely ally when the Axis Powers turned their eyes east and invaded, marching almost all the way to Moscow.

The entry of the United States marked the turning point in the world’s darkest hour. A heterogeneous nation of exiles, who could list the conquered states on both sides of the world as the nations their ancestors had left as immigrants to the New World, formed a joined both fights simultaneously. After nearly four years of brutal fighting in forests, moun­tains, ruined cities and villages, on tiny islands and in the open sea, the Allies liberated the peoples and nations who had lost all hope.

As we remember the event that brought our nation into the biggest conflict our species has ever known, we turn our thoughts to the men and women who served at home and overseas.

My grandfather, Frank Leslie Redfield, joined the U.S. Navy immediately after the attack and served aboard the USS Princeton, an Independence-class aircraft carrier sunk at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944, surviving the open sea until he and other sailors were rescued.

After he was discharged from the Navy, he immediately re-enlisted in the Army and served in North Africa and Italy.

We all have our stories. Sedona does, too.

STORY John Cornelius 12 9

 

Longtime Sedona resident John Cornelius collects donations for veterans with Sedona Mayor Sandy Moriary, then-Cottonwood Mayor Diane Jones and then-Weber's IGA owner Jake Weber in December 2015.

Cornelius served five years in North Africa, Italy and the Middle East as a first lieu­tenant with the 85th Infantry Division and worked as an infantry commander and a staff intelligence officer until his separation in November 1945.

Cornelius died April 5, 2017, at age 98, but friends will continue his 11-year efforts that collected more than $200,000, donated to the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Prescott.

Longtime Sedona resident John Cornelius was already serving in  the army when Pearl Harbor was attacked. His unit was serving on the coast, waiting for Japanese submarines that the military expected but never appeared. Cornelius served five years in North Africa, Italy and the Middle East as a first lieu­tenant with the 85th Infantry Division and worked as an infantry commander and a staff intelligence officer until his separation in November 1945.

This year will mark Sedona’s first remembrance of the attack on Pearl Harbor without Cornelius, who died April 5 at age 98.
In the week before Pearl Harbor Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, we could always count on receiving a note from Cornelius, followed shortly thereafter with a phone call, asking us to cover his fundraising efforts in front of Weber’s IGA in the Village of Oak Creek.

For 11 years, Cornelius collected donations via a raffle to help disabled veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Prescott.

By the time he died this spring, he had raised more than $200,000 to help his fellow veterans who had served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq and during the Cold War in peacetime.

For these men and women, the war galvanized their characters and their constitutions, creating a generation who served their nation and their fellow citizens selflessly whether in uniform or on the home front. As we commemorate Peal Harbor on Dec. 7, remember those friends and loved ones who preserved our world when they were needed most.

Christopher Fox Graham

Managing Editor

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