Survivor Reunion Survives Thanks to One Woman
Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com
BOISE-- It's become a part of her life. Alice Ingham and her husband had been attending reunions for the survivors of Wake Island for as long as they were married.
"My husband didn't talk about hardly anything," said Ingham, "Some husbands probably did, but now that we have articles to read, it's become more interesting to me the more you read about it. You think well that's really history."
Just after Peal Harbor, Wake Island was invaded by the Japanese during World War II. What they faced was a small amount of Marines, and regular citizens. Many of them from Boise working for Morrison-Knudsen. Several of the men on Wake Island were captured and held as prisoners of war. In 1945 the survivors of one of the earliest conflicts of WWII got together to remember, and heal.
"They would talk about their memories not so much with the families and wives but with each other and that was cathartic," said Bonnie Gilbert. A daughter of one of the men of Wake Island and an author on the subject.
But in 2003, the Wake Island reunions were going to stop.
"The fellas, the survivors decided they didn't want to pass it on to the next generation. There were quite a few that were willing to take it on, but they felt it was their story and there were ready to fold it up," said Gilbert. However Alice Ingham wasn't ready for that.
With $1000 Alice organized a newsletter, weekly coffee dates and a yearly reunion that again takes place in Boise, Idaho this weekend.
"I just felt like if no one else is going to do it I have to do it."