Raising Spirit For Fallen Soldiers

McGwire Ishikawa, Reporter

     It’s said that a soldier dies twice in war — once when they’re killed in battle and once when they’re forgotten. To prevent these soldiers from being forgotten, Senior Tabitha “TJ” Maize and Social Studies teacher Amy Boehning had been working since January to research and reconstruct the life of soldier, Clarence P. Cambra, who had fought in World War II. The project was for the “Sacrifice for Freedom®: World War II in the Pacific Student and Teacher Institute” program, which focuses on honoring fallen soldiers.

     “The skills required to do this program and to learn are great. (When it comes to) the research and investigation, it requires (that we) uncover a story that doesn’t exist, or has been long lost. Clarence’s story was lost to many,” said Boehning.

     With many deadlines that had to be met and so little information to find, reconstructing the soldier’s life was no easy task. In the end, Maize was able to locate places that carried details about Cambra and utilize them in her project and eulogy. “In the beginning I had to use resources like Ancestry.com and Newspapers.com along with the state archives, UH archives and I went to the state library to do research on his family and the time period he lived in. Then I had to write up a draft of my eulogy based on what I found at the archives and library and the various websites. After the draft was created it had to go through a series of checks from my teacher and the supervisor of the program, then I actually got to say my eulogy and now I’m working on creating his profile,” said Maize.

     Boehning and Maize were able to contact Cambra’s family and share their information with them. This project helped the family, who knew little to nothing about Cambra and learn more about his past. “We knew more about him than they did and (when) they emailed me, they were excited to find out the information that we actually uncovered about him, because all of the soldier’s family immediate family has passed away,” said Boehning. Maize added, “I felt like I knew him. I found information on him about him as a student and as a young adult and I found information on his family that I presented that connected me to his relatives that came.”

     This past summer in July, Maize and Boehning went to Punchbowl to eulogize Cambra and were joined by 11 other teams to honor their own soldiers. Cambra’s family had participated in the event and were able to learn more about their long-lost family member. “I felt relieved and emotionally drained but happy and content about the fact that I was able to bring closure to the families and feel happy about the fact that someone brought their families story to life,” said Maize. Boehning added, “For me, it’s powerful and Clarence Cambra will stay with me for the rest of my life. He is somebody I respect, I think should continue to be honored and I will continue to remember him. When I go to Punchbowl, I’ll stop by his grave. Then I’ll remember who he is and what he did for our country.”

     Participating in this program was life-changing for Maize and Boehning. They had obtained new skills, as well as a better understanding of the people who gave their life for war. “As a person it showed me that everyone plays an important role in life and that everyone’s role is important. This project also taught me just how important the war was to people involved in it and showed me what some people lost for the cause,” said Maize. Boehning added, “Clarence is a little bit older, but looking through the yearbook and his track photos from the newspaper and his senior graduation picture, it grabs at your heart and it really puts into perspective what these men did in World War II and who they were. They were just like the rest of us, but they’re heroes.”

     Maize and Boehning will share their information with Saint Louis School, where they will continue to honor their fallen soldier. They will also share his entire profile with the rest of his family so that they may remember what Cambra accomplished in his life.