Battle of Midway event honors 75th anniversary of naval battle

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A special ceremony was held Tuesday at Midway Airport in Chicago to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which is what the airport is named after.

"It stands as the greatest naval battle in the annals of military history," said Chicago Ald. Ed Burke (14th Ward), who organized the ceremony.

In June 1942, the U.S. and Japan clashed in a nearly four-day battle off Midway Island, located about 1,000 miles northwest of Honolulu in the Pacific Ocean, as part of the Battle of Midway. The firefight destroyed four Japanese aircraft carriers and turned the tide in the war in the Pacific for the allies.

"Its successful outcome rallied a fearful nation just six months after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor," Burke said.

Among the notable guests at Tuesday's event was Jack Coombe, a 95-year-old Navy veteran who participated in the Battle of Midway, and Clifton Truman Daniel, the grandson of President Harry Truman, who, at that time, was a Missouri senator.

"The Battle of Midway, when the war was just starting, he and my mother and father were as worried as everybody else what was going to happen. I think they had faith, but between Pearl Harbor and Midway, it was dark time," Daniel said.

The ceremony was held by the airport's Battle of Midway display, which will also feature a city council resolution commemorating the anniversary.

On Wednesday, Midway Airport will host more veterans from World War II and the Korean War. They are traveling to Washington, D.C., on an honor flight to visit their respective memorials.
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