Remembering the greatest generation

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 7, 2013

This Saturday, December 7th, America will observe the 72nd
anniversary of Japan’s sneak
attack on Pearl Harbor. President Franklin Roosevelt called it “a day of infamy” that will live in the memory of every American alive at that time.
Nancy Acosta and I were both seven years old at that time. She was living miles away in Pearl Harbor with her family as her dad was in the Navy and stationed there.  On that Sunday morning, Nancy
was getting ready to attend church with her family wearing a white dress her mother had made. Her family survived the attack and so did her pretty white dress that she still has covered with oil stains. A grim reminder of that awful day, when as a little girl, was protected by God.
Nancy served in the Army and met her husband, Leroy Acosta, (now deceased) who was in the Navy.  They settled in LaPlace and raised two girls – Kelly Turner (Daryl) and Rebecca Simoneaux (Scott). Nancy is now a resident of the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home.
 I was sitting with my dad at a football game that historic day. Reserve was playing St. James for the River Parish championship. I remember that day like it was yesterday. We were sitting on the top row in the south end of the stadium.
At halftime, Inez Madere Millet (now deceased), in her band uniform, shouted to the crowd, “The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor!” In a split second, my dad’s face changed to one of shock and a spirit of fear came over him. I don’t remember much of the game after halftime, but later found out that Reserve won 20-7.
The next month, on January 15, 1942, five members of that team joined the U.S. Marines. They were Billy Sutton, Marion Robert, Shirley Maus, Gerard Loupe and Clarence “Nick” Duhe. Marion Robert was killed November 20, 1943 in Tarawa.  One of the players who enlisted
with him was by his side as he
died. He was one of 31 young men from St. John Parish who paid the ultimate price to protect our freedom.    
During the war, my dad would listen to the news every night on the radio. He was concerned about our country and, especially, because of the fact that he had four brothers serving in the military. Aristide “Eaky,” one of his brothers, was killed in France in 1944.   
I remember food rationing, especially, sugar and butter, and, also, the newspaper and scrap iron drives. I remember being at the Reserve Community Club swimming pool when the U.S. dropped the A bomb.
As the war ended, America had shown the rest of the world that, together, we had won the war.  
It’s been a long time since that Sunday morning in December when we were attacked. We were a proud people who defeated Germany and Japan.
Tom Brokan wrote a book titled, “The Greatest Generation.” I don’t think anyone will disagree with that but may agree, as I do, that we will never recapture the spirit America once had.
If you have any questions, or comments, please write to Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call (985) 652-8477, or e-mail: