When people attend book signings, they’re usually happy to get an author autograph on their book of choice. But on Veteran’s Day, military history buffs will have the rare opportunity to get some special signatures, in addition to an author autograph.
The few remaining members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Lilac City Chapter will be at Auntie’s Bookstore to sign copies of “Radioman: An Eyewitness Account of Pearl Harbor and WWII in the Pacific” by Carol Edgemon Hipperson.
The reading and book signing is part of a daylong fundraiser for Inland Northwest Honor Flight.
Hipperson said the event evolved as a way to celebrate the paperback release of “Radioman.” “This will be the first Honor Flight benefit in a bookstore in this region and only the second time this year that the Pearl Harbor survivors have chosen to appear together for a public event,” she said. “It’s major effort for them – there are only seven of them now, and the youngest is 90, but they want to show their support for Honor Flight.”
The group served as Hipperson’s advisers as she researched and wrote the biography of Radioman, Ray Daves.
“They started out as sources for my research,” she said. “But over the years they’ve become my closest friends.”
Daves was aboard one of the first Inland Northwest Honor Flights. That’s when Tony Lamanna, Inland Northwest Honor Flight director, met him. “I got adopted into their family after that flight with Ray Daves,” Lamanna said of the Pearl Harbor survivors. “I just love these people.”
Lamanna recently returned from his 24th Honor Flight, but the thrill of escorting veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials built in their honor hasn’t waned. He said, “On the day of a trip I’m like an 8-year-old boy at Christmas who knows there’s a Red Ryder BB gun under the tree!”
The October flight took 88 area vets to D.C. – 85 of them, World War II veterans. “We have 20 or more World War II vets on the waiting list,” Lamanna said. He encourages Korean veterans to sign up for an Honor Flight.
Continued donations and support from the community make these trips possible.
“We’re here to stay,” Lamanna said. “If my daughter one day takes over, perhaps she’ll be taking veterans of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars to see their memorials.”
Members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Lilac City Chapter expected to attend include George “Bud” Garvin, Army Air Force, Clyde Buteau, Army Air Force, Warren Schott, Navy, Charles Boyer, Navy, Ray Garland, Marines, John “Sid” Kennedy, Navy, and Dale Magnus, Navy. Widows of survivors and civilian survivors are also expected to attend.