World War II

Good morning. My name isn’t important. I could be your father, son, brother or sister.

I was your neighbor, part of your family. I was part of your history; I am a piece of your life.

The world was exploding around us in another grim and shocking war. Rowan watched helplessly as their children left to join the growing procession of men and women who were joining hands with our allies in a great, united effort to defeat the beast that was marching throughout the globe.

In 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and we became history’s right hand. Overnight Americans went into action. Once the commitment to enter the war was made, there was no time to reflect, there was no stopping us.

Our leader, our minister at Rowan (1940-44) during these terrible years of uncertainty and fear, was Pastor Edward A. Walker, He worked tirelessly in those war years to bring messages of strength and courage to his congregation.

We bought War Bonds, conserved fuel, and salvaged tin. Gasoline was soon rationed, followed quickly by food in 1942. We stood in lines with our ration coupons clutched firmly in our hands. Blackouts were an accepted part of our daily lives. We wrote our letters and we prayed together as a congregation. We put stars in our windows, and alone at night, with only God as our witness, sometimes we cried.

Our list of those fighting men and women from Rowan became longer. Today I salute, (SALUTE) Milton Boon, Alvin S. Clack, Eliott Chestnutt, Wayland Denton, Tommie Evans, Norman Hope, W.A. Matthis, William F. Moore, Fleet More, Eugene Quick, Gordon Page Rivenbark, Hoover B. Spell, Haywood Spell, Buck Tew, Handy Thorton, Chester Wagstaff, W.P.Wagstaff, Hallie B. West, L.A. Westbrook, James E. Yancey, Sumner Eakes, Kendall Eakes, Erwin Chestnutt, and Pauline Chestnutt.

Such was the list that appeared in the Rowan Church bulletin on September 27, 1942. Eventually, John H. Boone, Alvin Malpass, Ivey O.Malpass, and J.H. Winn were added to the Service Honor Roll. And there would be more, many more names yet to be added.
“Along familiar paths, I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth (Isaiah 42:16).

With God as our Captain, and President Roosevelt at the helm, we slowly felt a renewed hope. His messages soothed us, and with the assurances he offered, we were rallied, strengthened: and with the support of our own church home and our belief in our God Almighty we were able to face our worst fears. “Eventually,” Roosevelt told us, “These United States will know peace once again.”

Finally, it was over and our thunderous united efforts to defeat the beast that would have marched throughout the world were successful. Peace came at a terrible price. But, it came.

So you see I have no certain face, and yet I have many faces. Look carefully at me. I am your past, I am your future— I am your hope remember me.