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World War II and You – Truly Historic Blog

Chris Hauff Jul 21, 2020

Miss Clark’s Truly Historic Blog! August 7, 2020

For the month of August, my blog theme will be “WWII and You.”

There are so many great heroes, both male and female, that served “We the people” and helped to keep our country free. Even as I write these words, World War II veterans are reportedly leaving us at almost 300 each day. Of the 16 million veterans who selflessly fought, there are just over 300,000 still living.

The Greatest Generations Foundation (TGGF) is a wonderful source of information and is dedicated to the sacrifices and history of our WWII Veterans. Organizations like TGGF, keep our Veterans’ legacies alive so that future Americans will have a glimpse into the great sacrifices they made during the war.

Many of us have had the honor to meet one of these true heroes. We owe so much, that there are no words or actions we can perform to adequately thank them. However, perhaps there is something we all can do. We can try to find a World War II veteran so that we can send them a card or call.  Once it is safe, nursing homes are a great place to start.  I’ve learned that veterans love cookies and candy! Many of the WWII Heroes I’ve been blessed to meet have mentioned ICE CREAM!  So…. there’s another idea, and maybe you can even share a cone, even if it has to be virtual!

By the way, did you know that during the war, many times an exchange was made from one country to another of a prisoner for ICE CREAM? Really, the late President George H. W. Bush was traded for five gallons of ice cream. (Not sure of the flavor.) We have a replica of the plane President Bush flew onboard the USS Yorktown.

This week’s WWII heroine is Gertie Abkes who just this week turned 108!

Abkes says her life’s philosophy is simple. “I believe you shouldn’t get into hate. Treat everyone the same love everyone—I love all people,” she said.  Those are some powerful words and they must help with the longevity of life too.

Last month, we reviewed presidents who served in the military. Gertie was born when Taft was in office in 1912 – four months after the Titanic sank. Unlike a few of us, she can say that she survived the Spanish Flu of 1918 AND the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020.

Gertie Abkes served in WWII, in 2020 she turned 108 years old.

Growing up during the Great Depression, many members of her generation grew up on farms. She worked in her Dad’s grocery store and knew the joy and pain of hard work. Believe it or not, Gertie loved basketball and was quite good too. Due to her need to work, she was not able to finish high school or peruse her dream of playing sports either.

After the Depression, she met a charming young man named Leonard who became her husband. They moved to Denver, Colorado in 1942 where she attended nursing school. Just as today, nurses were in great demand and she found her calling.

Quoting her family and friends, she is said to be the “great” in Greatest Generation and has a strong sense of humor. When asked what she wanted for her birthday this year, she said 108 Birthday cards. Well, she got her wish – with over 125 cards…. WOW!!!

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Abkes from all of us aboard the WWII Aircraft Carrier USS Yorktown, CV-10, nicknamed “The Fighting Lady.” We are honored to celebrate you!!! Thanks for your service and may God bless your 108th year too.

So tune in next week for “WWII and You!?”  and read about another WWII’s Greatest Generation hero. Oh, and the clue is —WWII and Medal of Honor Recipient Too!

Have a truly historic weekend!!!

P.S. For you sport’s fan her favorite team is the Denver Broncos and I’m pretty sure she has cheered for them the longest.



History Education Program Coordinator Cindy Clark (Miss Clark) comes out of the brig aboard the USS Yorktown.

Getting To Know Miss Clark:

My name is Cindy Clark, but most of my life as a teacher I’ve been known as Miss Clark. For more than 24 years, I was blessed to teach in a traditional classroom full of students who often taught me more than I taught them. Then, I left the classroom and boarded a truly historic ship – the USS Yorktown. I spent more than 10 years educating students from across the country about history, honor, and patriotism as part of the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum’s education department.  As of August 14, 2020, I officially retired, and looking back, I feel so blessed to have had an impact on so many young lives!

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