I grew up as an “army brat.” My parents (Howard and Marion Peckham), brother (Howard L. Peckham Jr.), and I (Jean Peckham Kavale) lived at Fort Benning, Georgia, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. That’s why I picked Benning7 as my user name. That attack, which precipitated the entry of the United States into World War II, was a turning point for all families, but I think especially for military families such as ours. The head of the family’s call to duty came quickly after President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech to the nation on December 8, 1941:
As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. . . .With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph–so help us God.
References to World War II will appear frequently on this blog, primarily because I wrote a 402-page biography of my father. Its title is A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham. The book was published by Cypress Publishing in 2008.
A second edition was published in May 2011, and it’s on Amazon.com. Here’s the updated cover:
To read several pages in the book or buy it, just click this link:
I am eager to share with you what I learned after perusing U. S. Government documents and other sources (such as my father’s diaries and letters and my own diaries) during my many years of research. Much of the information I intend to provide, in the form of excerpts from the book, will be new to you readers. I’ll also include a few of my own personal experiences.
A sense of patriotism came early in the mind of Howard L. Peckham, for several reasons. First of all, his family’s roots were deeply embedded in the rich soil of colonial New England; additionally, he was a descendant of Revolutionary War heroes. His dad, Frank E. Peckham, never failed to raise the American flag in front of their house on patriotic holidays.
My father was born in 1897 in Norwich, Connecticut, a beautiful harbor city located in the southeastern part of the state, adjacent to the confluence of the Yantic, Thames, and Shetucket Rivers. He lived in Norwich with his parents and siblings (a brother and two sisters) until he completed high school at renowned Norwich Free Academy.
A graduate of West Point (class of 1918), my father had an admirable career in the U.S. Army, eventually rising to the rank of two-star general. As Adlai Stevenson once wisely said,
Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.
Those words certainly apply to my father, whose devotion to duty and country stayed with him all his life.
I’ve had more than fifteen years of experience as an editor in Silicon Valley, including Senior Editor with PDR Information Services and Contract Editor for Fortune 500 companies. I hold a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland, a teaching credential from San Jose State University, and a master’s degree in pastoral theology from the University of San Francisco. (I’m also the author of two other books: Faith and Philosophy and From the Potomac to the Seine.)
Again, the link to A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham on Amazon is: