Pearl Harbor Bound
Superior Central teacher, student awarded history trip
EBEN JUNCTION — Hawaii has its major tourist attractions such as its lush, volcanic landscape and Waikiki Beach, but to a teacher and student at Superior Central Schools, it will serve as a summer history lesson.
Junior Caleb Nimee and social studies teacher Brenton Fitzpatrick have been awarded an all-inclusive trip to Pearl Harbor, one of only 16 teams selected through the National History Day program.
National History Day is a non-profit education organization based in College Park, Maryland, that offers year-long academic programs. Following a successful 2019 pilot program, NHD will coordinate the summer program, sponsored by Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum, the USS Missouri Memorial Association and Pacific Historic Parks, said its website at www.nhd.org.
Student-teacher teams work together for five months to research the context of World War II in the Pacific, and specifically, the life of a Silent Hero who died in World War II and is buried in or memorialized at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
Fitzpatrick said he learned about the NHD program through Michigan History Day, an NHD affiliate of which Superior Central Schools has been a part.
“We decided to apply, and to our surprise, we were selected,” Fitzpatrick said.
Nimee wrote his essay about his great uncle Bill and other family members in an essay he submitted with Fitzpatrick for the Sacrifice for Freedom: World War II in the Pacific Student and Teacher Initiative.
That great uncle, Nimee said, served in the Pacific Theater and was on a B-17 crew in World War II, and still is alive.
“It was basically what I would gain if I got to go on the trip, and since I have such a personal connection, I get to see where my great uncle was stationed at Pearl Harbor, and I actually get to see all the processes of what happened during Pearl Harbor, because I’ve loved history my entire life,” Nimee said of his essay.
Nimee, Fitzpatrick and the other duos will travel to Oahu in June to visit historic sites and learn firsthand about the impact of World War II in the Pacific. The experience culminates with the completion of the Silent Hero® eulogy and profile, which will be featured on NHDSilentHeroes.org as well as the websites of the sponsoring organizations.
However, the two had to research someone from Michigan who died in the Pacific War and present a eulogy on that person, who must be interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, in Honolulu or whose name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing, also in Honolulu.
The focus of Nimee’s eulogy is Manfred C. Anderson of Hancock, who Fitzpatrick said enlisted at age 20 and served with the headquarters squadron of the bombardment wing in Honolulu.
Nimee said they had about 1,400 names from which to choose, but decided on Anderson because of his proximity as well as the fact he served in the United States Army Air Forces where his great uncle served.
“I just want to see where history went down,” said Nimee, who noted he’s heard stories of how some walls still have schrapnel in them.
However, the trip will be about Anderson too.
“It’s honoring this guy,” Nimee said. “That’s what I really am most proud of
with this experience because veterans aren’t really known in today’s society. They’re not as popular as celebrities.”
Fitzpatrick said Anderson died at Hickam Field at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Nimee is happy about getting the chance to give a eulogy for Anderson and show what he did that day, and that a “guy from a small town” enlilsted in his 20s.
That eulogy will be presented at the National Memorial Cemetery
Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.