Let’s Talk Clovis: Honoring all Veterans and 59 Clovis Gold Star Heroes

John Cecil Cox, Clovis’ first Gold Star Hero. (Photo contributed by Clovis Museum)

The Clovis Museum will continue its tradition of honoring 59 Clovis Gold Star Heroes and all veterans at its monthly “Let’s Talk Clovis” program on Nov. 14, 7 p.m., at Clovis Veterans Memorial District. The public is invited to join.

WWI: We entered the war on April 6, 1917, and the armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918. We remember our 10 Gold Star Heroes. At the time, Clovis had a population of 1,357 with 22 graduates from Clovis High. John Cecil Cox, only son of Clovis High faculty member Professor J.M. Cox, was our first Clovis Gold Star Hero.

WWII: We entered the war on Dec. 7, 1941, and it ended on Dec. 31, 1946. By then, Clovis had a population of 1,626. Of the 28 Gold Star Heroes, 14 were graduates of Clovis High. The first verse and stanza of “America the Beautiful” was the foreword for the 1943 Clovis High Cavalcade. David Lancaster and Hugh Norenberg (1943 graduates) became Gold Star Heroes.

Korean War: We entered the war on June 25, 1950, and the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. Our two Gold Star Heroes: Antonio Lopez was killed in action at age 18 on Oct. 17, 1951, and Richard Caster (1950 Clovis High graduate) died in combat June 6, 1951. Caster was the only son of Grover and Grayce Caster. His father, Grover, was a shop teacher at Clovis High.

Vietnam War: We entered the war on Jan. 2, 1963, and the war ended on May 7, 1975. Of the seven Gold Star Heroes, Ronnie Pendergraft (1966 Clovis High graduate) was killed in action Jan. 6, 1968, after serving less than three weeks in Vietnam.

Desert Storm-The Gulf War: We joined a worldwide coalition under the United Nations to liberate the country of Kuwait on Jan. 15, 1991. Cease fire was issued on Feb. 27, 1991. Terrorism continued and Gold Star Hero USAF Capt. Leland Haun was killed July 25, 1996 by terrorists at Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Iraq War: The United States led a multinational coalition invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. The conflict continues. Of our 11 Gold Star Heroes of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, eight were graduates of Buchanan High School. Childhood buddies Jared Hubbard and Jeremiah Baro joined the Marines together and died together Nov. 4, 2004. Jared’s two brothers, Jason and Nathan Hubbard, enlisted in the Army after Jared’s Death. Nathan was killed in a Blackhawk crash on Aug. 22, 2007. It was a stunning loss for the Hubbard family and our community.

The population of Clovis during WWII was approximately 1,750. War ration books were issued to civilians. The government stated: “Rationing is a vital part of your country’s war effort. Any attempt to violate the rules is an effort to deny someone his share, [which] will create hardship and help the enemy.”

Each family member was registered and stamps were issued. Processed food, sugar, meat, butter, cheese, coffee, shoes and tires were among the rationed items. It was a criminal offense (10 years imprisonment or $10,000 fine) to make a false statement.

Gas rationing was allocated by occupation. No more than 470 miles of occupational driving per month would be allowed unless you were designated a preferred mileage classification. Farmers were among that group. Drivers were instructed to drive under 35 miles per hour, share their car with others, check air pressure weekly, stop, start turn slowly, cross switch tires regularly and ask: “Is this trip really necessary?”

The Clovis Museum has a veterans room that is dedicated to all veterans and our 59 Gold Star Heroes. They protected us and are a vital part of our rich heritage.

Peg Bos :