Wednesday, December 7, 2011
John Millard and Geneva Ridenhour planned to be married on Dec. 25, 1941, in Fulton, surrounded by family and friends.
Millard, who had enlisted in the U.S. Army that October and was stationed at Ft. Riley, Kan., had carefully arranged his furlough around the event.
But on Dec. 7, 1941 — “A date which will live in infamy” — the Japanese bombed the U.S. fleet in Pearl Harbor.
“All furloughs were canceled,” said Millard, now 91. “I called my father, and he brought my bride-to-be to up, and we got married in Ft. Riley on Christmas Day.”
Millard is one of eight local veterans and three women who will share their memories of the war years in “Fulton and World War II”, a special video which airs at 7 tonight on FACT-TV (channel 5 on Charter Cable).
“I felt it would be good to do something community-focused with our cable channel, and with it being the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we thought this would be a good idea,” said Darin Wernig, Fulton’s public information officer, who coordinated the project.
Millard, who served in the Signal Corps, said he spent the war traveling “all across Europe, clear into Germany.”
“Mainly we made sure we had communications between the supply depots and the front line,” he said of his duties. “At times it was pretty rough, but we made it.”
He said one particular assignment he will never forget involved an unexpected boon in terms of transportation.
“I always think how lucky we were when we got to the Rhine River and found a bridge — all of the bridges were supposed to have been gone months before,” Millard said. “It was a railroad bridge, but our engineers rigged it so we could use it. I spent four days there directing traffic.”