Eagle Rock Student, A World War II hero
It was my pleasure to take photos at Temple City High School for their Friday night game against Eagle Rock High School. I was drawn to a story of a former Eagle Rock student, a World War II hero, and a grandson that just happened to be playing for Temple City. The following is a story that was relayed to me from Valerie Floyd Davis, a proud daughter and mother of a special football player.
“Since I was a young girl I had heard stories of my father, his two brothers, my great grandfather, my great-great grandfather, and my two cousins (one who had been a highly decorated Green Beret in Vietnam, and one an Army Ranger in Haiti), being in the wars throughout history. There are so many details at the time that I did not understand, nor the importance of all that, just that it was. We always stood and sang the American Anthem with our hands over our hearts, we always prayed for our country and our military, and their eyes always filled up with tears when recounting their many, many stories, mostly sad, about “the war.”
Perhaps hearing my father recount his months on Midway Island, as a 17 year old, in an underground bunker running away from the strafing of bullets on the beach, and his childhood buddies dying; my uncle being on Iwo Jima at 16 years old (he lied to the recruiters saying he was 18), wounded lying on the beach with mortar shells flying over him; and my other uncle, only 17 years old, being at the Battle of the Bulge in Europe, implanted in me a desire and a tradition of serving my country. It is ingrained in my blood and that of my family. As I have gotten older, the true meaning of all that they experienced has become more and more important. My father has always said that many people have not heard about what life was “really like on the Island,” with the goony birds running around, explosions on the beach a daily, normal occurrence, complete darkness, the making of torpedo juice (they really drank it!), or the disposing of bloodied bodies off of a barge that the sharks immediately devoured. This was real for my father.
Following a visit with my father a week ago, I mentioned that my son, Kyle, his grandson, was going to be playing starting Varsity Football for Temple City High School against Eagle Rock High School on September 20th. His eyes lit up and said, “Now that’s a game that I would like to see! That’s my Alma Mater you know.” He said that he, his 2 brothers, and 1 sister attended Eagle Rock High School before World War II broke out. I asked him if he used to go watch his school’s football games. He looked at me shocked and said, “Oh, no honey. I had to help make ends meet. I worked every Friday night at a newspaper stand on Colorado Blvd., to help buy groceries or whatever we needed. Then when the war broke out, my brothers and I ran down to the recruiting office and enlisted. Dale in the Marine Corps, Don in the Army, and I in the Navy. I was in Pearl Harbor two weeks after the attack and can still smell the smoke and oil burning.” Then with sadness he said, “I never got to see my own school’s football games. I would have really liked to have seen just one.”
At that moment I knew that that football game would be a most important night for my Dad. His grandson, Kyle Floyd, DE/TE #44, would be playing his heart out for TCHS, and in honor of his Grandfather Kean, his Uncle Dale, and his Uncle Don.
Tonight, 75 years later, my father will get to watch his first Eagle Rock High School football game. My family will never forget his sacrifice and his service. Thank you Daddy. We love you!” Your daughter, Valerie Ann I am happy to announce my new website dedicated to everything Temple City. It captures the spirit and community of a great city. Check it out at: www.templecityphotos.com to see recent photo and video events. You can also like us on Facebook. I would welcome your comments at email@example.com
See you soon…