WWII Veteran gives a history lesson
September 29, 2018
Ninety-five year old WWII Veteran Jimmy Weldon drove himself all the way from Burbank to Tehachapi on Sept. 16 to give a history lesson to students, veterans and members of the community. Weldon has made a career out of speaking before groups about the lessons of American History. The event was sponsored by the local Rotary Interact Club and RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) recipients Faith Ellms, Aiden Woods and Riley Amato. Ellms had heard about Weldon and had sent him a hand written invitation to speak.
Weldon's talk outlined the story of our National Anthem. He told how, during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key had gone aboard a British war ship that was holding U.S. soldiers prisoner to negotiate their release. The ship was positioned in Baltimore Harbor in full view of Fort McHenry. The captain said that Key and the prisoners would be allowed to leave once the British fleet took Fort McHenry that night. The fort was bombarded for hours overnight and at sunrise, Key saw the flag still flying over the fort, a symbol of the resilience of the fledgling nation. That event prompted Key to write a poem that was eventually put to music and became our National Anthem. Weldon, seated in his walker, caressed the flag hanging beside him as he told the moving tale.
Following the presentation, the students hosted refreshments giving everyone a chance to talk with the WWII vet who at one time was the voice of Yacky Doodle, a duck on the Yogi Bear cartoon show.