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May 27, 2005
“Some Gave All”
Oroville Mercury, February 12, 1942 and June 13, 1942.

Torpedo Blast Kills Local Man
MARYSVILLE—Lawrence Gianella, 21, radio operator on the S. S. Prussa, a freighter, was killed December 19 when the vessel, enroute to Panama, was torpedoed 100 miles from Honolulu, relatives here learned. The ship was returning from Borneo, and Gianella had cabled his uncle, Postmaster Thomas Gianella, that he was safe in Honolulu. Two boatloads of survivors were picked up. Gianella, who had been employed until a year ago in the Bank of America here, was a native of Oroville, son of Henry Gianella and the late Bertha Leeper Gianella.

MacArthur To Be Honored At Oroville Flag Day Ceremony
Big Parade Will Start At Fire House, Wind Through Business Section To Field
General Douglas MacArthur will be honored Saturday night, June 13th, when the Elks lodge hold their annual Flag Day observance at Mitchell Field. Saturday was recently proclaimed by Congress as MacArthur Day. It is the anniversary of the United Nations commander's appointment to West Point military academy. Local recognition of the day will be included in the program which is expected to attract a large crowd from Oroville and surrounding district. Miss Eileen McDonnell has been selected as soloist for the event, it was announced by Don Hobbie chairman of arrangements. At the conclusion of the program she will sing “God Bless America" with Miss Elizabeth Humphrey as accompanist. The parade will be staged at 7:30 p.m. prior to the Mitchell Field observance. Over forty organized groups are planning entries, said Paul West, chairman’s assisted by Roy Nelson, Roy McCune and Tom Reeves. Following the parade, Company K of the State Guard will stage a drill, the first such appearance by the group since its organization. The Flag Day parade will form at the fire department, Montgomery and Oak streets. The line of march will go east to Myers street south on Myers to Robinson and continue to Fourth Avenue where participants will proceed south to Mitchell Field for a grand entry.

Stu’s Notes: Monday, May 30th Memorial Day, we will again gather up on the Hill at the Oroville Memorial Cemetery at 11:00 AM and honor American’s Veterans. If it’s not raining the flags will be flying along the roads and on each Veterans grave. A most Beautiful sight if you haven’t seen this I urge you to drive out and see it. The relatives on the passing of their veterans have donated most of the large flags, some years later. It is an honorable place for them to go.

I found the story of Young Lawrence Gianella years ago. I put him on our Oroville list. Finally after many years our Government is finally recognizing our Merchant Marines and giving them their just due. They served our country well. They died at a bigger percentage rate than any other service, I’ve been told. Their duty was extremely hazardous. Can you image sailing on our high seas. Knowing that if your ship went down your chances of survival were very slim. A convoy could not stop for you. They were usually far from Navy help. Sharks, water so cold, (in the North Atlantic) you might live ½ hour. There was a war on. Lawrence Gianella was safe in Honolulu. He could have jumped ship and stayed in Hawaii. But he sailed on. Could he be the first Oroville man to die in WWII ? Maybe, God only knows. But he died for his country 12 days after Pearl Harbor and we will honor him. This is all I know of Lawrence, anyone know more?

Good news! Patti Myers is going to put her now famous talent show next October and all the proceeds go to the Oroville Veterans Memorial Park. She will be working on this with John DeRee and Inga Armitage.