War and Remembrance
The years slip away and events recede into the past, but the experiences of local World War II veterans remain etched in their memories
From the Holiday 2018 issue
Next year will mark the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II. All but a handful of countries participated in that conflict and historians estimate that more than 60 million people died as a result of the war. Included in that death toll were 40 million to 50 million civilians, killed by bombings, disease and starvation, and war crimes, including the Holocaust’s systematic extermination of Jews and others.
The United States joined the war in December 1941, after the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. By the end of the conflict nearly four years later, nearly 406,000 U.S. soldiers, Marines, sailors and Coast Guardsmen had been killed and more than 672,000 wounded.
Despite developers’ offers, tenuous economics and unending chores, family farmers in coastal Delaware say they’ll provide locally sourced food till the cows come home
Henry Bennett grew up on his family’s farm just outside Frankford, about 10 miles from the beaches where he loved to surf with his high school friends. Early on, those friends learned there would be days when Bennett couldn’t join them. As they headed east to catch the morning waves, he’d stay behind to collect eggs from the chicken house, haul pruned branches from the orchard, and chop firewood for the woodstove that served as the main heat source for the family home.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” he says, reflecting on those days as he sits at the kitchen table in a house built by his grandparents. “It was always hard, and there were a lot of days when I just hated it.”
Goin’ to the Chapels
Those little white churches that dot coastal Delaware don’t just echo the area’s past. Plenty of them still house congregations that have learned from it.
Red balloons reach for the ceiling of Indian Mission United Methodist Church, each one tethered by ribbon to the end of a pew. They sway to and fro, gently buffeted by whispery currents that have curled lightly within the walls of this place for nearly a century.
In those pews, about 35 chattering folks, teenagers to retirees, slide back and forth along the benches, managing multiple conversations, catching up on the news (no one here would be comfortable with the term “gossip”) and mouthing happy “hellos” to folks too far away for a church-appropriate exclamation.