Few people understand the significance of the Battle 0f Midway and its impact on the outcome of World War II. The “Battle of Midway” was a story that needed to be told. Here was an opportunity to help educate the public of the courage and sacrifices of the many that did not return.
What better media than Ellen Sandor with her dedicated (art)n team to volunteer to portray the BOM events, that many of us believe, led to the downfall of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
At the time I was being asked by teachers in the Springfield Public School system to come to their classes to speak about my experiences in the Pacific theater of World War II. I found that our educators knew little of the War in the Pacific. Because of my personal experience at Midway and Iwo Jima, I was often asked to speak to their interested students. Then, the invitation from Ellen to provide information for the Battle of Midway Memorial, at of all locations, the “Chicago Midway Airport” arrived. I was immediately impressed by how fitting the location was. What a beautiful idea for helping more people learn about the BOM than putting it where they might have time to fill and away from their normal hectic lives. Veterans and other visitors could visit the memorial within the Chicago Midway Airport. The Battle of Midway could now be told as a beautiful sculpture captured by combining black and white images with color to enhance the 3D effect called PHSCologram, really a piece of art.
It is the first and only BOM memorial I am aware of. Ellen walked at my side that day as we approached the Memorial, I can’t remember if she was holding my hand or I hers. What crowds, civilians, Navy, Marine personnel, news media, flag bearers and band music, and then there was the Battle of Midway Memorial. I will admit to a big lump in my throat, squeezing Ellen’s hand and tears building in my eyes ----, at that moment I felt so much pride within me, I could only remark , “Oh my, Mrs. Sandor.” I think I repeated my self several times, “Oh my, Ellen” before I could regain my composure. I will always remember that moment. “Ellen, you and your team have a very special spot in my heart”.
I remember being asked for any documents, photographs that the team could use for building the concept, of a Navy and air battle – or even my thoughts at the time 4 June 42. I was able to send a few items to Ellen, including a photograph of a very young Marine with a torn shirt pocket and wearing a WWI helmet.
I am still to this day unable to describe my feelings when Ellen walked me around the Memorial to where we could view another portion of the marquee, what a surprise awaited me, my image was displayed between Admiral Nimitz and the President of the United States. I was speechless.
Friends of ours were going to Chicago and we told them of the Memorial and they visited it. She is a teacher and said, “The Battle of Midway Memorial is the finest creation in art form portraying our Naval WWII history I have ever seen.” Her young son had taken a picture of the Memorial and wanted me to autograph his photo.
Without a doubt, Mrs. Sandor and her talented (art)n team spent a great amount of time on research. Each team member was devoted to “getting it right” and they did.
The military, at least Navy and Marine’s have a rating called , “4.0”, denoting the highest achievement, Ellen and the (art)n team have earned a “4.0” from this veteran.