World War II impacted the homefront

Pearl Harbor Day is a reminder of the various ways Hinsdale participated in the conflict

Series: Hinsdale 150 | Story 49

Today, Dec. 7, is Pearl Harbor Day, "a date which will live in infamy" as President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously pronounced in a Dec. 8 address to Congress asking that a state of war be declared with Japan. The surprise attack on the U.S. naval base in Hawaii immediately and profoundly altered life across the country, including Hinsdale.

The Centennial edition of The Doings from 1995 captured stories and vignettes from the World War II years, which are excerpted here.

"When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Hinsdale waited for word from Major and Mrs. Stephen Roby, stationed at Hickman Field in Pearl Harbor. A cablegram arrived and made front page news stating that they were safe and well," one article related. "Speculation about the others in harm's way continued. Residents were thrilled by the Dec. 25 headline that Rod Stewart Jr. of Hinsdale had flown through the Japanese invasion and landed safely while having to dodge enemy bullets. The surprise attack at Pearl Harbor hardened everyone's determination to enter and win the war.

"Col. Candee, a onetime Hinsdale resident, was named chief of the Army Air Support Command," the reporter noted. "The first casualty from the area in World War II was Lt. Frank Kobal from Clarendon Hills. His plane crashed in California during stormy weather.

Even four-legged residents contributed to the war effort.

"Bruno, a German shepherd, owned by the Groves family on County Line Road, went to war in 1942 and served as a guard at Camp Maxey, Texas, before he was returned to his family in July 1945," the piece stated.

As more village natives were called into service, The Doings carried lists of draft registration numbers "so that all of Hinsdale could follow the progress of its boys."

On July 9, 1942, the paper ran a photo of loved ones of local servicemen and women posing in front of the Memorial Building before taking part in the village's Independence Day parade. The marchers were greeted with "outbursts of applause" by onlookers.

To conserve paper for the war effort ­and ensure availability of enough copies to send to service members, The Doings discontinued newsstand sales on May 1, 1944.

In Italy, American Red Cross worker Ruth Steele Buffington assured her family in Hinsdale she was safe with a cable message May 14, 1944. Apparently she also had worked hard to keep her military patients in good condition. Maj. J. Paul Wintrup of the Army Dental Corps is quoted as saying, "I can't say that I have ever known a woman with such vigor, such dependability, and such a full desire to help our soldiers, ill and wounded, as Miss Buffington."