In 24 years of reporting and editing for the Bangor Daily News, my favorite story to write was certainly the interview I did with my dad, Gayland A. Moore Jr., for the 50th anniversary of the 1944 Battle of Leyte in World War II. He died in 2002, but his memories of the 20-year-old sailor who served in the Pacific Theatre live on.
Also that year, Maine school teacher Barbara Tyler joined the WAVES — Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services in the U.S. Navy. Barbara’s Navy experiences ranged from singing on radio shows in New York City to being reviewed with her squadron by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to working in air traffic control at Quonset Point Military Base in Rhode Island.
I learned all this and more when Barbara Tyler Garland’s granddaughter, college student Eliza Garland of Bangor, delivered a wonderful essay at the end of Barbara’s funeral on May 7 in Madison. Eliza said, in part:
“My grandmother is a woman who defined herself in an era when stereotypical roles were broken and women made inroads into the military and working worlds. I admire her for her military service, and I respect her honesty in admitting that she had to grow into liking the Navy way of life. During the interview, she was candid about her vulnerability, apprehensions and her pride in her nation. She told me that she had always valued the American way of life and grew to learn a new appreciation for teamwork and the challenge of melding diverse people into a common goal.”
Eliza doesn’t need me to tell her that the essay she wrote in 2008 is one of the most worthwhile things she has ever done, and not just because it earned her a scholarship that year from WAVES National, nor because her grandmother was a charter member and had served as state president of Maine Unit 41 of WAVES National.
Rather, the content and the way she wrote her essay, “Grandma Was a Sailor,” demonstrates that even at 18, Eliza recognized that her grandmother’s story was a part of history worth preserving.
And how fortunate that WAVES National thought so, too. You and I and the hundreds of students Barbara Garland taught in 35 years as an educator can read “Grandma Was a Sailor” on pages 14-15 of the August 2008 issue of White Caps, the newsletter of WAVES National, at womenofthewaves.com.
Learning of the WAVES National website reminds me to invite you to hear “Researching Our Veterans,” a program I will give to the Penobscot County Genealogical Society and the public at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, at Cole Land Transportation Museum, 405 Perry Road. The program is free and open to all.
This program is a talk I have written about looking for information and records of U.S. military veterans as far back as the American Revolution. The PCGS meeting is being held, this month only, at the Cole Museum so that I can show you items such as military honor rolls listing employees of Eastern Maine General Hospital and members of the Jewish community, the museum’s Purple Heart collection and the wall of hundreds of names of those killed in World War II from the 5th Armored Division.
Outside the museum, the Maine Vietnam War Memorial lists all the Mainers killed in that war. The newest memorial on the lawn, dedicated on Nov. 12, 2012, lists 114 Bangor men killed in World War II.
Also on Wednesday, May 15, Belfast resident Dana Murch will give a program on “Royal Descents” at the meeting of the Wawenoc Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society at 2 p.m. in the Abbott Room at Belfast Free Library.
The program will trace several lines of descent from the 8th-century Kings of England and Scotland to Plymouth Colony immigrant Constant Southworth and to the Murch family of Belfast. Also discussed will be various Murch family connections to the Magna Charta, Charlemagne and the early Kings of France.
The Maine Old Cemetery Association will hold a public meeting 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at the Palmyra Community Center, intersection of US Route 2 and Madawaska Road, Palmyra.
A highlight will be the 9:45 a.m. presentation by Ann Foss, “Comprehensive System for Recording Cemetery Information.”
Registration is $3 at the door. Bring a bag lunch if you haven’t made a reservation for lunch.
The Brewer Historical Society will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, in the meeting room at Brewer Auditorium on Wilson Street. The speaker will be Lee Sirabella, who will share historic photographs from his decades as a photographer. Refreshments will be served.
For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.