I had just returned from a trip when I was deeply saddened to read in the Oct. 25 BND of the death of Pearl Harbor survivor Chester Jankowski. I shed tears as I read it. I have lost a personal friend and a mentor to whom I looked up to and highly respected.
Chester Jankowski survived the capsizing of the USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941. The USS Oklahoma had the second-highest number of men killed —429 of her crew perished. The USS Arizona had the highest death toll with 1,177 killed.
After Pearl Harbor, Seaman Chester Jankowski served in some of the prominent campaigns of World War II, including the Operation Torch invasion of North Africa and finally in the final battle of Okinawa. In the Battle of Okinawa, the last campaign of the Pacific war, the Navy had more men killed than either the Army or the Marine Corps in the ground fighting on the island. Chester Jankowski was a participant throughout our nation’s entire course of the Second World War.
Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his address to Congress, said: “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.”
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We can be thankful to the Greatest Generation, and especially to men like Chester Jankowski, that President Roosevelt’s prophesy finally came about. Lest we forget and let us proudly remember.
Frank Austin, Belleville