Yesterday marked the 69th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into World War II. My paternal grandfather suffered an accident and lost part of a finger prior to the war, and was unable to serve. Only one of his cousins, Albert Leclerc, was the right age for service. He was drafted into the military at the age of 19. He was deathly afraid of water, so, of course, he was drafted into the Navy. He was a Machinist’s Mate, Second Class, on his first mission, when his ship hit a mine and sank. He was trapped in the ship and drowned. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. He is memorialized, along with others whose remains were never recovered, at the Manila American Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines.
Many databases are now available online to help in researching your family members who served in the war. The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., honors the 16 million men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces, and more than 400,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) originally worked to create the memorial, which was transferred to the National Parks Service in 2004.
You can find out more information about the memorial at www.WWIIMemorial.com. The WWI Register of Remembrances is a combination of four databases:
- Americans buried in ABMC overseas military cemeteries;
- Those memorialized on ABMC Tablets of the Missing;
- Listed on Official War and Navy Department Killed in Service rosters at NARA;
- And those honored by public enrollment in the registry.
You can enter the names of family members into the registry for free. Information on registration is available in the Registry section. You can find links to more WWII databases at CyndisList.