Visit to the National WWII Museum…In Honor and Memory of Vernon H. Sparks, his shipmate Doris Miller, and Veterans of all Wars…

by | Oct 18, 2012

Doris Miller

Nickname “Dorie”
Born (1919-10-12)October 12, 1919
Waco, Texas
Died November 24, 1943(1943-11-24) (aged 24)
Gilbert Islands, Gilbert and Ellice Islands
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1939-1943
Rank Cook 3rd Class
Battles/wars World War II
*Attack on Pearl Harbor
*Battle of Tarawa
*Operation Galvanic
Awards Navy Cross
Purple Heart Medal[1]
Combat Action Ribbon

Doris “Dorie” Miller (October 12, 1919 – November 24, 1943)

I was very moved and proud of America when visiting the National WWII Museum in New Orleans yesterday with Judy. I could not help holding back the deeply personal  and proud emotions of the personal connection with my Dad, who served on the USS West Virginia, along with Navy Cross and Purple Heart recipient Doris “Dorie” Miller.  Dorie is recognized in the memorial and exhibit for his bravery while the USS West Virginia was torpedoed and sank in the harbor.  I wish Dad was still with us so we could have a conversation about his experience, including knowing his shipmate, Dorie. 

USS West Virginia Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941
Vernon H. Sparks
Marcella C. Sparks

The WWII museum is very powerful and includes a 4D  movie narrated by Tom Hanks, Beyond all Boundaries. It gave us the shocking reminder of the sacrifice world wide of  65,000,000,000 men, women, and children killed during the war.  The number is staggering!  The 4D technology made us feel we were back in that terrible time and in the middle of WWII in every theater of the war.  Even the seats shook as various events occurred, including Pearl Harbor, Pacific and European theaters showing battles leading up to dropping the “bomb” and finally ending WWII.

I continue to feel grateful and personally touched on this journey while having the opportunity to visit America’s sacred places.  These special moments provide a deeply spiritual and personal experience of the debt we owe to millions of people who died protecting liberty around the world.  If America had not come together as one to fight back, we would no doubt have a completely different world today.  A world without democracy seems so remote and scary, but it is very clear to me that the Free World would not exist today if it had not been for the sacrifice and bravery of so many millions of men and women who served in the military and in the private sector to build the most powerful fighting force in the world at the time.  My own “boomer” generation was especially blessed with peace and prosperity following WWII.  I hope all of us born around the time of WWII have done our best to help preserve and protect our sacred liberties and freedoms we so enjoy to this day…

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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