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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

A photo in time

Remembering World War II: Life Aboard a Pacific Battleship

A city that is rich in culture and public transportation is also rich with historic value. The Fullerton Museum has been presenting the Memories of World War II Speaker Series this month in conjunction with the current photographs from the archives of The Associated Press that are on display through April 13 of this year.

The AP exhibit is a variety of photos from all theaters of the war and the home front. The images are displayed to act as windows of the past, taking each guest on a tour through World War II.

Life Aboard a Pacific Battleship will take place Saturday, March 29, 2 p.m. The USS Iowa, saw combat in the South Pacific and transported President Roosevelt to the Tehran Conference in 1943. U.S. Navy Veteran David Canfield joined by curator David Way, will present on the day-to-day experience of a crew member aboard the legendary ship during different chapters of her career.

In the exhibit, recognizable scenes of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, along with British and American troops hitting Normandy beaches on D-Day and marching through newly liberated Paris, are contrasted with hidden surprises. These surprises brought back old familiar feelings to older Americans. “These are clear images that bring back a lot of feelings,” said Fred Cienfuegos, Fullerton resident. Eye-catching photos adorn the exhibit including one of President Franklin Roosevelt, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and Churchill sit for a group portrait at Tehran.

In Cherbourg, France, Army Capt. Earl Topley gazes at a German soldier sitting dead in a doorway. Dead Japanese soldiers lie half-buried in sand on a Guadalcanal beach; dead U.S. Marines sprawl in the volcanic ash of Iwo Jima.

Despite censorship that postponed the release of certain pictures and restricted caption information, the wartime cameras recorded dramatic close-ups of power and pathos, the leaders and the lost.

These photos not only catch the moment of action, it also gives the viewer an idea of the amount of risk put into each photo taken.

“My camera was my shield and I didn’t even think about the idea that a bullet might hit me,” says Max Desfor, retired AP photojournalist, who covered the battle of Okinawa and Japan’s surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri.

“Seeing my parents get emotional shows that this exhibit is doing what it’s suppose to,” said Vanessa Lemus, FC student. “It makes me wonder what kind of exhibit I will be looking at when I am their age.”

For more information about the Speaker Series or the exhibit, contact the Fullerton Museum at (714) 738-6545 or visit


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