Ray Holder
Ray Holder

Service Record

1941-1946 • Enlisted • Navy • USS Ward (DD 139); USS Wilson (DD 408) • Pacific • Petty Officer Second Class

Transcript

Raymond Holder:
So he had seven notarized recommendations.

Thomas Healy:
You know, it’s funny — it’s — it’s — and I don’t think they did it after — after every — everything, but there should have been something — (Interviewer speaking to camera crew.) Can you go online? There’s nothing online in the — in the Navy records about any — any — any information —

Thomas Healy:
See, when they — when — I was researching Pearl Harbor. Every officer at Pearl Harbor had to do a — had to make a statement —

Raymond Holder:
Uh-huh.

Thomas Healy:
— a written statement. I think it was, like, within a week or ten days after it happened. I think the sooner the better. All those are in the national records, the National Navy Records. So I’m just surprised that there isn’t anything in there from any of those guys, that they had to write anything during the battles or during whatever that they had, that they couldn’t have a — that they didn’t have to write a written report. That it wouldn’t be in there someplace.

Raymond Holder:
Well, what happened, these suicide planes, when — well, suicide attacks started at Pearl Harbor — those two man subs. And then when we went in to the Philippines, they started with the suicide planes, kamikazes. They seen how effective it was, and they asked us not to write home and don’t talk about it. So they kept it quite. They didn’t want the Japanese to know how bad it — they was really hurtin’ us. Which they was hurtin’ us bad. Out of 150 destroyers they had on their radar picket line, 85 percent of them was either sunk or damaged. And there was more people who was lost to the Navy there than they had Normandy, and they didn’t want to talk about it. So even today, you won’t get a lot of people to talk about it. I’ve been able to find 14 kamikaze survivors here in the Wilmington area, and there’s a lot more of them here. Every — every once in a while, I find another one.

Thomas Healy:
You have a — are we rolling? Oh, good. There’s a Bernie Nutter. Bernie Nutter was in charge of the lanes for _+ out at Christiana for years — just retired. He didn’t just retire, he retired a number of years ago. He was a gunner on, I think, the aircraft carrier Lexington who — we’ve got a bunch of stuff of — of the kamikazes on that one — that he was a gunner . He was actually a Marine gunner. I guess they had a lot of Marines — gunners — assigned to the aircraft carrier.

Raymond Holder:
Well, each — each one of the big ships — like cruisers, aircraft carriers, battle ships — they had Marines on that. Most of them, I think they was about 40 Marines on each one of the ships, big ships, and that’s why you find that so many of them were gunners on that. Because each crew member was assigned a battle station, and most of the times they would stick a marine on one of the guns. And the Marines didn’t have any corps men. They were all Navy. Navy Corps men was what taken care of the Marines. That’s why you’d find that so many of the big ships had the Marines on them. Some of the aircraft carriers did have Marine pilots on them.

Thomas Healy:
Uh-hum.

Raymond Holder:
A squadron of Marine pilots was assigned to some of the aircraft carriers.

Thomas Healy:
Okay. Let me stop you. What we’re going to do is we’ll start out, give me your full name and then spell your last name, and you’re gonna’ look at me or just talk to me. If you can’t see me, I’m here. So just start out with giving your full name and then spell your last name.

Raymond Holder:
All right. My name is Ray Holder, H-O-L-D-E-R..

Thomas Healy:
Okay. Now, I’m going to ask you three questions that you can all — that you can answer by telling me a story.

Raymond Holder:
All right.

Thomas Healy:
The first one is where did you grow up, the second one was who are your parents and what did they do, and the third one is did you have any brothers or sisters?

Raymond Holder:
All right.

Thomas Healy:
And — and when I ask you the question, repeat some of the stuff back to me because in the — in the documentary you’re not going to hear me —

Raymond Holder:
Uh-huh.

Thomas Healy:
— asking the question, so only people are going to hear you with your answer.

Raymond Holder:
All right.

Thomas Healy:
So, sort of say, “I grew up in… and I… my mom and dad were… whatever, and my…” You know.

Raymond Holder:
All right.

Thomas Healy:
Go ahead.

Raymond Holder:
I grew up in Danville, Virginia, and my mother and father — my father was Raymond Holder. He’s an ex-Navy man. My mother was Alma Cook-Holder. I had two brothers and one sister, and both brothers was in the Navy during World War II. I went to Schoolfield High School, and then later I was George Washington High School in Danville, Virginia, and 15 years old I changed my birth certificate and joined the Navy. And Richmond, Virginia, is where I had went to see the Naval recruiting officer and handed him a birth certificate, and he accused me of changing it, and I told him it got wet. When I come across the parking lot, it was raining. And born in Virginia, and all the records — the birth records — was kept in Richmond in that same building the recruiting officer was in. He told me he’d go down and check the records and come back and see if I could — could join. Well, when he come back, he told me he was sorry. He accused me of changing it. I — I did tell him the truth, and he had another birth certificate fixed up for me. I joined the Navy and shipped right on off to Norfolk for boot training — 21 days in boot training — come home for seven days and reported back, put us on a train and shipped us cross-country to San Francisco, and then I went aboard the S Ward, a DD-139, and we — this was in the latter part of September — went right straight to Pearl Harbor. And that’s where we was at December the 7th when the war started, on patrol, outside of the entrance of the harbor. And one of the other ships had picked up a sound of a submarine and reported it, and we went in and picked up the sound, chased it for a while, and then lost it. Later on we — one of the lookouts seen in a periscope was a little sub trying to sneak in behind a tanker going through the sub nets in there in the harbor. We fired on it, reported to the beach we had fired on the sub and sunk it. This was about an hour and five minutes before the first planes made the attack, and nobody wanted to believe that we’d sunk the sub. Just a few years ago, they found it right in the same area where we told them we fired on it and sunk it. They found a 4 inch hole right through the conning tower just like we had told them. It never stopped the attack — if they would’ve paid any attention to us — but it sure could’ve saved a lot of lives for being ready when those planes come in there.

Thomas Healy:
Did — is that what I saw on — was it National Geographic or Nova?

Raymond Holder:
Yes. That was — well —

Thomas Healy:
There’s a couple programs. There’s one that Brokaw did, I think, gave the introduction to when they were looking for the mini subs. Right?

Raymond Holder:
Yes. And Ollie North had a program on the — on the FOX about the — finding a little sub.

Thomas Healy:
Okay. So the question — here’s the question. Is — do you remember, and where were you on December 7, 1941? So when I ask you that, you’re going to repeat back, “On December 7… ” Go ahead.

Raymond Holder:
On December the 7th, 1941, I was aboard the USS Ward just outside the harbor, Pearl Harbor, and we was on patrol. They had — the Naval Reserves was — had been drafted in — into service, and they was assigned to the Ward. And around a little after six o’clock in the morning, we spotted a little sub and fired on it and sunk it and notified the beach that we had fired on and sunk the sub. And then we stayed out on — on patrol the rest of that day, and the following day we went in for fuel and right back out on patrol again.

Thomas Healy:
Could you see what was happening at the — in the harbor?

Raymond Holder:
Yes. You could see the planes diving on the ships in there and the smoke coming up from the ships that’s on fire. So we knew it’s a lot of damage being — given to our ships in there, but our mission was to stay out on patrol. And we couldn’t have done any good anyway with a 4 inch deck gun. You couldn’t do much at firing at aircraft with a deck gun, so we stayed out on patrol just like we was assigned to do.

Thomas Healy:
And what was your job?

Raymond Holder:
I was picking up hot shells they’d — after they fired the shells, I’d pick up the hot shells and get them out of the way so that they wouldn’t be in the way of the rest of the gun crew firing the guns.

Thomas Healy:
What did you end up — what — were you a striker? You were a —

Raymond Holder:
I was a Seaman, First Class. Know that’s next to the lowest rank that you can have when you go in the service.

Thomas Healy:
Oh, yeah. Now, what — but you didn’t stay that.

Raymond Holder:
No. I was transferred from the Ward very shortly after that and went aboard the USS Wilson, a DD-408. It was when the single-stacked destroyers had four 5 inch guns on it — antiaircraft guns on it — and sixteen torpedo tubes. And then from Pearl Harbor we went on down into the Pacific and down around Guadalcanal. All the islands around Guadalcanal is where we spent the rest of our time, and then they ended up goin’ down to the Philippines for the — the invasion of the Philippine Islands, and that was where we had the first encounter of the suicide planes. Suicide planes were diving at the troop ships and supply ships. The destroyers was trying to escort them in there trying to protect them. They was taking the blunt of all the suicide planes diving into them tryin’ — tryin’ to clear the way so the rest of them could come in — and hit the ships.

Thomas Healy:
What was the ship you were on?

Raymond Holder:
The USS Wilson, DD-408.

Thomas Healy:
What was the Ward?

Raymond Holder:
The Ward was an old four-stack destroyer.

Thomas Healy:
DD —

Raymond Holder:
DD-139.

Thomas Healy:
Okay.

Raymond Holder:
And it was an old World War I destroyer.

Thomas Healy:
Were you berthed in Pearl Harbor? Is that where you were operating out of?

Raymond Holder:
We was operating out of Pearl Harbor, yes. And we were assigned patrol duty outside the Harbor on December the 7th.

Thomas Healy:
It’s so funny because a lot of these guys — the whole story they’d tell — weren’t there, and they didn’t even know where Pearl Harbor was. You knew where Pearl Harbor was, didn’t you?

Raymond Holder:
You knew where it was.

Thomas Healy:
Yep. So you were — did you quit high school?

Raymond Holder:
Yes. Yes. I was in the tenth grade when I quit high school and joined the Navy. When I come back out of the Navy, they gave me credit — the credits I needed to finish — they would give them to me for being in the service and some of the service schools I’d gone to and the stuff that we had been involved with, well, talking to the rest of the classes about the history and stuff. I was given enough credits to graduate.

Thomas Healy:
Now, when your — was your dad still alive when you went in?

Raymond Holder:
Yes.

Thomas Healy:
So did he know anything about it?

Raymond Holder:
Well, I think about all he knew was what he could read in the papers. We wasn’t allowed to write home and tell where we was at and what we were doin’.

Thomas Healy:
No, I mean — I mean, before you went in. Did he know you were going in?

Raymond Holder:
Oh, yes. He signed the papers for me to go in because he’d done the same thing. He went in when he was too young.

Thomas Healy:
And he retired out of the Navy?

Raymond Holder:
Yes. He retired from the Navy, and then after he retired, he come back to Danville, Virginia. And he was one of the — part of the management of Dan River Mills, and he retired from Dan River Mills, and he passed away at the age of 84.

Thomas Healy:
So you went to him and said, Dad, I’m going in. Was there any reason why you wanted to go in at that time?

Raymond Holder:
Well, all the people that I — I was in school with and lived in the neighborhood was — had joined the National Guard Units, and they was being called up, and I wanted to go and be with them.

Thomas Healy:
Which one of the battles were you in, and what —

Raymond Holder:
Well, I was in the battle in — at Pearl Harbor, and went down in to the Philippines — oh — not the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal — and with Guadalcanal, what they call “slide all the islands” up around Bougainville and Gilbert Islands and ended up going into Bougainville. Went down to — into the Philippines, and then from the Philippines we went up to Okinawa. I was also at the Battle of Guam — Guam, Rota, and Tinian — when they — we went in to take those islands.

Thomas Healy:
What did you guys do? What did the destroyer do? What was their mission during these battles?

Raymond Holder:
Well, the main mission for the destroyers was escorting the bigger ships. Some destroyers were assigned to escort the troop ships and supply ships, some was assigned to the task force with the aircraft carriers and cruisers in it, and some of the destroyers was assigned to be with the battle ships. You never knew when your assignment might change and put you with another group. We had operated with the — the troop ships, and another time we was with aircraft carriers and with landing ships when they’d take the — troops ships — when they was landing on the beaches. And then we would be pulled away from that duty and assigned to shell the beaches sometime, or if the troops on the beach needed a target fired on, well, they’d call on a destroyer to come in and take care of it. If it was a target inland quite a bit, some of the battle ships would — with the big 16 inch guns — would take you and bombard the beach, and cruisers would come in and help them.

Thomas Healy:
What — did your — did your destroyer get — get refitted without the torpedo tubes for the antiaircraft guns, or —

Raymond Holder:
The Wilson had 16 torpedo tubes on it.

Thomas Healy:
Okay.

Raymond Holder:
They’d taken eight of them off and put antiaircraft guns on it. Mostly, your destroyers had eight torpedo tubes on it, but the Wilson was one of the class of destroyers that had 16 on it, and they were all taken off and put antiaircraft guns in place of them.

Thomas Healy:
Just because of the kamikazes?

Raymond Holder:
No. It was —

Thomas Healy:
No?

Raymond Holder:
— because of the need — the need for antiaircraft guns, so we had more need for antiaircraft guns than we did 16 torpedo tubes, and it also made the ship a little lighter by putting the antiaircraft guns on it instead of the extra 8 torpedo tubes.

Thomas Healy:
Now, what were you after — later on, I mean, what was your rank? What did you do?

Raymond Holder:
I was an electrician. I specialized in the electrical gang as an electrician and looked after the generators and helped out with all the electrical work that needed to be done on the ship.

Thomas Healy:
What was your battle station like?

Raymond Holder:
My battle station, at one time, was a 20mm gun. And then later I was assigned to the search light, which was a 36 inch stainless steel, polished mirror — carbon arc burning behind it. It’s just like looking into the sun. And Admiral Duncan — well, he was later Admiral Duncan, he was the captain of the ship at the time — had been a Navy pilot. And when these suicide planes would start coming in at us, he would order the search light be put on them. Illuminate the plane in the daylight, and it’s just like flying into the sun. He’d put the search light on them, and it would make a turn to get out of his — out of his way.

Thomas Healy:
Why don’t you tell me a little bit about what you want or what you’re trying to do. Is it for the Wilson you’re trying to get the Presidential Accomodation, or —

Raymond Holder:
Well, what I’m really trying to do — and working with Senator Carper — is trying to get the radar picket destroyers at Okinawa awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for all the heroic things that they done; fighting these suicide planes, and going alongside of other ships that had been hit with suicide planes and help them fight the fire and take off the survivors. And we were told not to write home — don’t talk about the suicide planes — because they didn’t want them to know how bad that they was hurtin’ us. Out of 150 destroyers and destroyer escorts, 85 percent of them was either sunk or damaged, and we had over 10,000 casualties in Okinawa. The Navy alone had over 10,000 casualties. Very shortly after the battle of Okinawa — invasion of Okinawa — they — we dropped a bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the war was over, and everybody was anxious to go home. And a whole lot of this stuff that should’ve — we should have been recognized for doing was just, more or less, overlooked. I have two medals that I’ve gotten. One of them in 1949. That was from the USS Ward for being in the battle at Pearl Harbor and down in the Philippine — down in the Solomon Islands. And I just recently got the other one, the Naval Combat Action Medal, which I had to send proof to the Navy department that we was involved in combat with the — with the enemy. I just got that — oh, it’s been less than a year ago I got that. So, much of this stuff that people just didn’t want to — didn’t put it in their records because they didn’t have time. So that’s why a lot of people didn’t get the recognition that they — they should have got, and I feel that these radar picket destroyers should be recognized for what they done in Okinawa.

Thomas Healy:
Do you have any kind of group —

Raymond Holder:
Yes. The kamikaze —

Thomas Healy:
— or association?

Raymond Holder:
The Kamikaze Survivors Association is a group I’m with, and we’ve all banned together in trying to get our senators in Congress to help us get recognition, and we have been talking to the President — we’ve sent letters to the President, documented proof of everything we’ve done — and Senator Carper is going out of his way to try to get this request done for us.

Thomas Healy:
Did — what’s the request called? The exact name?

Raymond Holder:
The request we are looking for is a request for the Presidential Unit Citation.

Thomas Healy:
For the —

Raymond Holder:
For the radar picket destroyers at Okinawa.

Thomas Healy:
What’s the — what’s the radar picket destroyers? What’s the difference?

Raymond Holder:
Well — well, we was assigned a station to go out between 50 at 100 miles west of Okinawa — usually three destroyers in a bunch — and we set up a picket line which we operated back and forth along the coast there, and with the radar we could pick up these planes as they come out of Japan — sometime 150, 200 of them at a time — and we was the first line of defense for the — our troop ships and aircraft carriers against these kamikaze coming in. When we would pick them up, we would notify the aircraft carriers where they were at, give them a location, and about how many there were, and they would launch the planes from the aircraft carriers to come out and engage them, and most of us would — was hit or badly damaged. When you was assigned this mission, though, this radar picket duty, you was to go out and stay on station until you run out of fuel or ammunition. Whichever comes first. Then you would have somebody come relieve you, and you would go back and refuel and resupply your ammunition and go back on station.

Thomas Healy:
Was your ship you were on ever hit?

Raymond Holder:
Yes. My ship was hit on April the 16th. Had a 500 pound bomb come through the ship at just above the water line. It didn’t explode. The plane bounced over the — over the ship, and we had five people were killed. We welded a patch — pushed the — cut a hole a little bigger in the side of the ship and pushed the bomb out. Wrapped a couple of mattresses around it and pushed it to the bulkhead, and dropped the line over from topside and tied it to it, and pushed it through the hole, lowered it below the keel of the ship and cut the line, welded a patch over the hole, and stayed on station.

Thomas Healy:
Did you ever think that the thing was going to explode?

Raymond Holder:
We never had time to give it a thought. The tail detonator did explode, and some of the shrapnel went through one of the compartment decks into a magazine, and that caused a small explosion that killed five people that were killed.

Thomas Healy:
Okay. Let’s talk a little bit about — where were — where were you on — on — actually, it would be V-J Day or September — it was, actually — it was in August, but in that — ’45?

Raymond Holder:
On that day that the B-29s left Guam, Captain Duncan and myself was on the beach at Guam. He was picking up the orders, and I was exchanging movies and picking up the mail. The morning that the planes left and dropped the first bomb, I was in Guam, and the people on the beach was taking bets that it wouldn’t be long. The war would be over. They had something big coming up. We didn’t have any idea what it — what was going on.

Thomas Healy:
When did you find out about that, or how — how — how soon did everything start calming down after that with you guys?

Raymond Holder:
The next couple of days things started making big changes. There was all kinds of changes being made. We had plans all ready to — for the invasion of Japan, and we had a bunch of troop ships and supplies that was gettin’ assembled for the invasion. After the war was over, we found that there was over 8,000 suicide planes that the Japanese was holding in reserve for our ships. When they come in to invade, they were going to fly these suicide planes into the troop ships, and there would have been thousands and thousands of our troops killed before they ever got on the beach. So Harry Truman did one fantastic job of dropping a bomb.

Thomas Healy:
And then the other one.

Raymond Holder:
Yeah, that —

Thomas Healy:
The other bomb.

Raymond Holder:
The other bomb.

Thomas Healy:
Now, how long did you stay out there?

Raymond Holder:
I was — about six months after the war was over. Then I was — I come back home and was discharged.

Thomas Healy:
Tell me a little bit about that.

Raymond Holder:
Well, we — when the war was over then, they started transferring people off the ship and transportation back to the — back to the states. You was discharged according to the points you had. You got your points with your number of years you’ve been in the service and your age. You had to have so many points to be considered next for discharge, and they brought people back on aircraft. Any kind of ship that they could put them on to bring them back, well, they’d bring them back home and discharge them. Me being an electrician helped my rate essentially. They didn’t have too many electricians after they got rid of a bunch of them, so they kept just enough rates to keep the ship in commission and bring the other troops back.

Thomas Healy:
Where were you discharged?

Raymond Holder:
I was discharged in Norfolk.

Thomas Healy:
And then what did you do after that?

Raymond Holder:
Well, I had — I had wrote to a supervisor that I knew in the power plant for Dan River Mills and asked him for a job. I was discharged on Saturday at Norfolk and went back to Danville and went to work on Monday morning — went to work in the power plant — and then later studied to be an electrical engineer.

Thomas Healy:
Oh, you did?

Raymond Holder:
(Nods head in affirmative.)

Thomas Healy:
Did you get any — when you got — when you got back there, did you do — did you — you said you were an electrical engineer?

Raymond Holder:
I was an electrical — I come back and went to school for electrical engineering, and I worked for Dan River Mills in their power plant, and then — let’s see — 1956 — I come to Delaware to work with Delmarva Power and Light at a big power plant they was erecting at the oil refinery, Delaware City, and I retired from them after 30 years.

Thomas Healy:
Did you — where’d you go to school at when you got back?

Raymond Holder:
I — Danville, Virginia.

Thomas Healy:
For engineering?

Raymond Holder:
Engineering, yes.

Thomas Healy:
What about your family?

Raymond Holder:
My father, after he come out of the Navy, he went to work for the Dan River Mills in Danville, Virginia. He was a supervisor in one of the weave rooms where they make cloth, and my mother also worked in there. Both of them retired. He retired as the superintendent of Dan River Mills. He had about 35 years worth at Dan River Mills.

Thomas Healy:
How about your — your marriage?

Raymond Holder:
Well, I was married in Danville, Virginia, very shortly after I come out of the Navy, and I stayed married to that woman until I come to Delaware, and then we divorced, and I was remarried again.

Thomas Healy:
Your present wife —

Raymond Holder:
Present wife is —

Thomas Healy:
— sitting right here?

Raymond Holder:
— sitting here with me now. She was Marlynn Baker, and then she married Bob Shanks, and then we were married. We’ve been married about, almost 20 years.

Thomas Healy:
Is she a Delaware girl?

Raymond Holder:
Come from Elkin.

Thomas Healy:
That’s close enough.

Raymond Holder:
That’s close. (Laughs.)

Thomas Healy:
That’s what it is, see, these Delaware woman. (Laughs.) Do you have any children?

Raymond Holder:
I have one son, and he has put in about 35 years in the Delaware and National Guards, and he is retired now from the Guards and will be retired from the Air Force in December.

Thomas Healy:
Like father, like son?

Raymond Holder:
Uh-huh.

Thomas Healy:
What do you think the history books are leaving out of World War II, or are they?

Raymond Holder:
I think they’re leaving quite a bit of the most important parts out of it. They’re not telling the whole story. They’re just giving you the highlights of it. They should — I think they should go more in detail as to what went on.

Thomas Healy:
Do you think this would be an interesting subject in school for kids from, say, eighth grade to senior year?

Raymond Holder:
Yes. I think it would be a very interesting subject for them. I, along with some of the other kamikaze survivors that I found in Delaware, go out to the high schools and talk to the kids and tell them what went on, and they are all very interested in it. And they tell you that they — what we are telling them — they can’t find very much information about it in the history books.

Thomas Healy:
The — I — I think it has a good place not only for just pure history, but also for geography and for whole world history and —

Raymond Holder:
As far as geography is concerned, I learned more, I guess, the first six months that I was in the Navy about the Pacific than I think anybody would ever learn in a lifetime. There’s so many islands down in the Pacific that so many things goes on that people never get an opportunity to research it, or don’t research, to see what really went on.

Thomas Healy:
Have you been back to any islands?

Raymond Holder:
I’ve been back to the Hawaiian Islands twice.

Thomas Healy:
What was your hardest time in the service?

Raymond Holder:
I think my hardest time was just after the war was over when all them mines was being cut loose and floatin’. You’re kinda’ scared that you’re going to run into one of them darn mines out there at night when nobody could — lookouts couldn’t see them. Scared you might go through all the war without any and end up gettin’ killed on the way home, I think, was the biggest fear that the majority of us had.

Thomas Healy:
I think that’s true with a lot of people. I think that they were more nervous coming home — that anything would happen coming home — than it was actually during the war.

Raymond Holder:
Things happened so fast that you didn’t have time to think about what was going on. You done what you was trained to do, and that’s all you could think about is what — what you were supposed to do, and that’s what you done, and you didn’t question nobody about what you was doin’. You was given a mission to do, and you went out and done it.

Thomas Healy:
Did you ever think you might lose your life?

Raymond Holder:
No. I never — never really give it a thought because I — a lot of times when I’d see something that might — I might be in danger with, I’d try to do something to — to get out of it. That’s like if — when that suicide plane was flying in at us. A lot of the guys figured it was coming right straight where they were at, and they’d run to another part of the ship, and anywhere they got it looked like that’s where he was goin’ to hit. So they ended upcoming back to where they were — the location they were in.

Thomas Healy:
Here’s a good — here’s a good one. Did you know you were part of history when it was happening?

Raymond Holder:
We never gave it a thought. When after — after the war was over, then we thought that we would be a big part of the history. And a lot of times, right now, we think about if we would not have won that war. We might be caddies on a golf course for some of these Japanese, or we would have been gardeners for them. People just don’t realize the freedom they got, and what people has gone through for them to have their freedom — their freedom they have. And I know when — my last year I was in school before going into the service, one of our teachers asked us to write a paper on what democracy and your freedom meant to you, and I was one that wrote a very short sentence telling her that democracy and freedom didn’t mean nothing to me until I could fight for it. The rest of them wrote long papers, and the teacher told me that I was trying to be smart by writing a short paper like that, but said I was the only one that was telling the truth. I felt that your freedom and your democracy didn’t mean nothin’ to me unless I could stand up and fight for it, and I feel that everybody ought to feel the same way. I feel that you got freedom so long as you don’t try to take the freedom away from somebody else.

Thomas Healy:
What do you want — what do you want the other generations to come to know and remember about World War II?

Raymond Holder:
What sacrifice that the people had to go through to preserve their freedom that we have in this country. People just don’t realize how much sacrifice that they — not only the military, but the civilian population — went through. There was a lot of times that they didn’t have the — the food that they was used to having; like coffee, sugar, and all kinds of stuff that was rationed — you couldn’t buy the tires for your cars like you can walk out and buy one any time you wanted to now — and gas was rationed. So people went through a hard time trying to see to it that the military had what they needed to preserve your freedom.

Thomas Healy:
Did — what would — what do you think — why do you think you guys are called the British generation?

Raymond Holder:
Well, I think maybe it was because that the people didn’t worry too much about themselves. They was trying to worry about protecting the country and protecting the freedom of the people throughout the world.

Thomas Healy:
Okay. What would — what — what’s the major message that you would leave to the generations to come?

Raymond Holder:
Stand up and fight for your freedom, and don’t let nobody get in your way.

Thomas Healy:
Okay. (Ray Holder holds a picture up of himself from the war for the camera.)

Mrs. Holder:
_+ has one on it too.

Thomas Healy:
How long ago?

Mrs. Holder:
About two years.

Unidentified Videographer:
Can you — could you just lock your eyes on T. J., please?

Thomas Healy:
As bad as that is.

Unidentified Videographer:
Yeah, I know. Look at — look at your wife. Maybe that’s more pleasant.

Mrs. Holder:
(Laughing.) Smile, honey. Smile.

Unidentified Videographer:
No smile. Very good. Thank you.

Thomas Healy:
Thank you very much.

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