Pearl Harbor brought survivors’ families together
Seventy-five years ago, when the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor began, Ed Frause ran shoeless across the glass-strewn deck of the USS Tennessee to join the fray.
Years later, he would show his son a picture, from his service days, of a swim club he formed with a few of his friends.
“He lost most of them,” son Craig Frause said.
To keep such history alive, to preserve the memory of Craig’s father and to meet people with backgrounds similar to theirs, Craig and his wife, Sheelagh, joined the Denver chapter of the Sons and Daughters Pearl Harbor Survivors.
Decades later, the Denver chapter has dissolved and other chapters of the association are fading. The tight-knit bond between the children of Colorado survivors remains, but they are worried that without interest from younger generations, the tradition could disappear — and pieces of U.S. history with it.
As the surviving troops returned home from the war, they founded associations and organizations to meet other servicemen and women who lived through Pearl Harbor. Their children also started associations, seeking the same connections. The first chapter of Sons and Daughters Pearl Harbor Survivors was established in Florida in 1972.
“They all had this bond together. … We didn’t all know each other but we also had that bond,” Diane Maglischo, a former Denver chapter president said.
In Denver, the 30-member chapter met regularly to plan for yearly events such as Memorial Day parades in Commerce City, Westminster and other cities. When the survivors got too old, the chapter asked the Denver Ford Model A Club to drive them down parade routes.
“We developed really, really strong friendships. I think that it’s been a really important part of our lives,” Sheelagh Frause said.
Juanita Pidcock joined the association about 15 years ago because her father was concerned that his and other survivors’ stories were being forgotten. “As a group, we tried to continue their message,” she said.
The sons and daughters grew close, traveling to one another’s homes in Colorado Springs, Denver and Thornton to celebrate the Fourth of July, Christmas and other holidays each year. Pidcock said her father rarely talked about the war with his family. “He talked with other people, but not with us. For some survivors it just wasn’t something they did,” she said.
After a parade in Federal Heights one year, a survivor told her stories about his experiences during the war. When he finished, his wife turned to Pidcock and said, “He’s telling you things he doesn’t tell his own kids.”