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Martinsville High School Alumni
Class of 1965 Message List
Dec. 7, 1941 in Martinsville - 12
12/04/16     Debby Davis Gagliano  (1967)      DebbyGagliano@hotmail.com

This is my Daddy's story of the "day which will live in infamy": my Daddy, Bill Davis, MHS class of 1940, was home on Christmas break from the Citadel in SC and was sitting in the old Roxy Theatre in downtown Martinsville watching a movie with a couple of friends. The heavy velvet curtains began to close as the lights came on and the movie stopped. The manager came out on stage and gave the announcement that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor and that the Post Office was now open for enlistment. Daddy said that every man in the room stood up and walked out of the building and walked to the old Post Office and enlisted. I'm guessing that he was being generous when he said that "every man" enlisted but it certainly seemed like it to him on that day. He served in Italy, Algeria and North Africa and said very little about it. He told me about marching into Rome and seeing Mussolini and his girlfriend hanging in the square as the townspeople filed by and spit on their corpses, he "mentioned" being blown across a building in Bari, Italy during a bombing and he talked about coming home on a big boat but he would never say anything more.
When I was in grade school at Patrick Henry, Daddy would take my brother J.P. and me to the home football games at Ben Ramsey Field but he always sat on the "Visitor" side. At 5 or 7 I didn't think much of this but one night I asked him and he said that he didn't like a lot of people crowding around him because he had "too much of people" during the war...I never questioned it but now I know it was probably what we today call PTSD. One thing never changed: when the National Anthem played, he made sure I had my hand over my heart and faced the flag...he didn't want me to see him cry...he cried during every playing of the National Anthem as long as he lived. Daddy died young at 50 in 1971 and when Mama called me to let me know, I was on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, less than 15 miles from Pearl Harbor.
I've shared this story with my 2 children but they never knew their grandfather.
I looked back at some of the classes of MHS and saw all the "old names" that helped Martinsville grow and prosper from the 1930's through our college years: Holt/Broaddus/DeShazo/Cheshire/Beeler/Hooker/Stone/Globman/Pannill/Whittle/Schottland/Shakleford/Townes/Davis/Stultz/Minter/Kearfott and many others. Many of their businesses are gone and families have moved but they had stories, too. If you have a story, share it with me, with all of us, so that no one forgets the lessons we should have learned so long ago.
All those I work with have a small American flag on the corner of our work cubicles because we work in a PA state-affiliated office and provide state and federal services and our PA Veterans Rep. made sure we had one over 10 years ago. On Wednesday, mine will be lowered
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