History alive at Shadow Butte
Published 12:08 am Wednesday, January 8, 2003
Dec. 7, 1941, "a day that will live in infamy," is not just a date on the calendar nor a page in the social studies book. Shadow Butte students got to experience that by meeting real men, who were real heroes, not pseudo hero movie stars or sports figures.
Two members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Organization visited the combination fifth/sixth grade class to personally share their experiences on the "day of infamy." It was an unforgettable experience for the students.
Richard Rosenberry, then only 20 years old, was in the thick of the battle at Hickman Air Base. He was wounded in the attack, with shrapnel in his foot. After recovering, he was sent stateside where he was trained as a bombardier.
Rosenberry was transferred to the European theater of the war and, on one of the bombing runs, his bomber was shot down. After parachuting to safety, he was immediately captured and spent the last three years of the war in a stalag (prison camp) in Germany.
He later was freed, returned home, married and raised a family and became a successful attorney in Boise until he retired.
Conway Benson, then only 18, was on the USS Tennessee, which was on the inside of "battleship row" at Pearl Harbor. He was in the middle of the furious attack since the Arizona and other ships were on one side and the Oklahoma and other ships were on the other. Benson survived the attack uninjured.
After the attack, and the ship was repaired, Benson served in seven more engagements during the war. At the end of the war, he returned home, attended college, married and raised a family. He became a successful businessman/salesman until his retirement.
The students were very inspired and appreciative as the two men told their stories of their direct involvement during the attack and the duration of the war. The students realized that they are free today because of the sacrifice of the two real-life heroes and thousands more like them, some who did not return.