The town of Downey has approximately 110,000 residents and each one has a story. This week I want to honor one of them: John G. Vincent.
John is 97 years old and past president of the Downey Historical Society. He held this position for over 25 years and was instrumental in writing, collecting and keeping historic artifacts for this city.
John is a quiet man who when asked about his military service did not go into much detail in tellis his story but being a writer and poet captured his story on the written page.
John was a teacher of science classes in Santa Fe Springs, a member of the Delvers -- gem and rock collectors -- and a proud American.
Memorial Day is coming in May and this celebration is always important to him as he served in the U.S. Army for almost five years during World War II. His service during the war and seeing the sacrifices that he and other soldiers gave made him know that the freedom we have did not come easy.
Being away from home for many years made him appreciate his family and home. John’s travels while in service took him hopping from island to island across the vast Pacific and eventually took him to Yokohama, Japan during the U.S. occupation. He got to encounter Gen. Douglas MacArthur while sitting aboard a troop ship in Tokyo Bay and watching the Japanese board the USS Missouri to sign the surrender.
John served as a bugler during his basic training at Fr. Leonard Wood, Mo. John admits he did have a time when he sweated while being on a troop ship when it was attacked by Japanese torpedo planes during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
John was a member of the VFW Barracks of Downey Post 2325 for many years.
His respect for our country and flag makes him a role model for the way I want to live my life. Thank God for men like John who contribute so much to our community.
I salute you, Corporal John Vincent, Second Army Eleventh Corp, Two Eleventh MP Company in World War II.
Bobbi Bruce is a docent with the Downey Historical Society.