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Historical Society donation captures Lehi man’s service during WWII

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Lara Bangeter | Lehi Historical Society

The Lehi Historical Society received a particularly wonderful donation recently when the daughter of Lehi native, Morris Ralph Schow, donated a scrapbook featuring Schow’s military service during World War II.

“It’s a really wonderful scrapbook,” said Robb Strong, scanning technician at the Lehi Historical Society. “I wish we had one for every Lehi serviceman and woman.”

The scrapbook contains everything from childhood photos and report cards to his Naval Academy certificates, photos during his service and the letter he wrote to his mother on the day the Japanese surrendered.

Schow enlisted on Oct. 5, 1943, and was an electrician’s mate second class on the U.S.S. West Virginia, which was severely damaged during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Schow’s personal account of his service, as found in the scrapbook, includes spending two days at Iwo Jima shooting at a mountain to help the Marines secure the island and moving to Okinawa to help finish “the action needed to bring war to an end.”

While near Okinawa, Schow said “… our ship was hit by a kamikaze just at dusk, killing three men. The pilot died, but his 500-pound bombs did not explode. We were very lucky.”

From a Tokyo bar, Schow and his buddies watched the Japanese surrender on board the U.S.S. Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945. In a letter to his mother written on that same day, he wrote: “Today is Sunday, one day out of the week for rest. Yet in this world on this day one of the most wonderful things in this year's history is taking place—the signing of the surrender of Japan. This will make it possible for a man to return to a somewhat normal life again so he can celebrate Sunday as a day of rest rather than just another day of work and war.”

In another document, Schow wrote of his military experience, “I have been ever grateful for the training and teaching of [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] I had as a young man. That kept me from doing those things other young men thought it smart to do or made them men if they did them. Fortunately, I had another member of the Church to pal with, and we had lots of fun together.”

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The historical society thanks Susan Klafs for the donations. To find the scrapbook online, go to the historical society’s online library at https://lehihistory.com. Click Online Library. In the Search field, type “Morris Schow Scrapbook,” then choose “Morris Ralph Schow Military Scrapbook” and click “Access URL Here.”

If you would like to donate anything to do with Lehi history, contact the historical society at 801-768-1570, [email protected] or visit at 99 W. Main St. STE 100 Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 5 p.m.

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