Editor’s note: You can read more about CarmelFest 2015 here.
By Mark Ambrogi
The Band of McClure brothers, as Dick McClure has dubbed them, will be on prominent display during the CarmelFest parade on July 4.
Two of the brothers, Jim and Bob, served in World War II. Youngest brother Dick served in Korea. The three, who served in the Army, will be part of the group of WWII veterans serving as Grand Marshals for the parade. But officials asked Dick to take part as well. They will celebrate Jim’s birthday as he turns 94 on Independence Day. Jim lives in Carmel while his brothers live in Indianapolis.
Dick, 84, also joined his brothers on an honor flight in September 2014.
“This glad-hand business has been going on for a year now,” Bob said. “I’ve had all lauding that I need. It’s time they concentrated on Vietnam and Iraq veterans.”
Jim chipped in to remember the Korean War vets, too.
“The Korean War is not only the forgotten war. It wasn’t noticed much when it was going on,” Jim said. “Hell, Dick wasn’t inside for over a year. He was outside in that terrible cold weather they have over there.”
However, Dick does know why they are honoring the WW II vets because their number is rapidly declining. According to the Veterans Administration, there are 855,070 that were left at the start of 2015 and an estimated 492 are dying each day.
“I’m just glad that organizations we’ve taken part with have done some things for veterans,” Dick said.
Bob, 88, went into the Indiana National Guard as teenager. He was in France in 1945. Japan surrendered after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and three days later dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki.
“Thank God, they surrendered,” Bob said. “Everybody in there was faced with being called to the main invasion in Japan.”
Jim agreed the dropping of two atomic bombs saved many lives.
“It was estimated the Japanese would lose two million lives and we would have lost a million if we had to invade,” Jim said. “It saved lives. It stopped the war.”
Jim, who enlisted in 1942, served much of the war in the Pacific Theater. Jim was in Okinawa when a typhoon hit the area in October 1945.
“It was after the declaration of peace but it would have been during the invasion if the war gone on,” Jim said.
The McClure brothers recalled how many in the country and in Congress had been opposed to entering the war changed their minds quickly on Dec. 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
“It was a complete reversal change in attitude for a country,” Dick said. “The next morning a guy hears about the news, grabs his satchel, kisses his wife and says I’m going (to battle the Japanese).”
Dick followed the war closely on the radio and made a map putting up flags to indicate who won which battle.
The McClures have a long history of serving the military, including a relative who fought for George Washington’s army militia in the Revolutionary War. Noble McClure, the brothers’ father, was an Army Colonel, serving in World World I and recalled in 1941 to serve in WW II.
The McClures have a younger sister, Sara, who turns 80 on July 9. All four siblings graduated from Broad Ripple High School.
The brothers are closer than they have ever been, meeting each month for breakfast.
“Each time I hope against I hope that they’ll buy but it never happens,” Bob said.