Commander George Ham Cannon – Park 63

“The past can take you to the future.” – Shirley Burch, NE Detroit Community Activist

Last week I was at Bishop Field with a friend.  An older longtime Detroiter chatted us up.  He said “Oh Detroit will NEVER be great again.  It will never be like it was. And young people can’t make a living off being farmers, so we got to knock that off”.   This conversation seems to always present itself  when I randomly run into folks when trolling Detroit parks.  I think what’s really happening is people won’t believe it until they see it.  I say re-imagine the definition of great, ditch the negativity and believe instead.

There was a time when Detroit was first.. cars, industry, pharmaceuticals, the arsenal of democracy, leadership, a burgeoning film industry, parks system was in the Top 5.  I don’t find these stories because I want to harken back to the way it was.  I don’t revel or get off on WWII stories either [and there are a lot of them in this blog].  My plain aim:  Give Detroit something to think about.

George Ham Cannon Photo: US Marine Corp Public Domain
The handsome George Ham Cannon
Photo: US Marine Corp Public Domain

Fixating on the past isn’t productive but glancing backwards is a-ok.    Glancing backwards, we see Detroit was paved with the dedicated, the super smart, the kind and the exceptional and oh some crappy people too.  Glance around now and see the synergy that is taking place.. we can collectively say  ‘We still got it and maybe even more of it now..along with the trash, crime and blight’.

So, here’s a story about an exceptional Detroiter from way back.. despite today’s deficiencies, we were and are still exceptional.  And yes, back in the day, we were often first like Mr. Cannon.

Continue reading “Commander George Ham Cannon – Park 63”

Owen Francis Hammerberg – Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class – Park 26

THE PRIDE OF DAGGETT

Owen Hammerberg was born on May 31, 1920 in the small village of Daggett in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Owen Hammerberg Photo: Courtesy ancestry.com
Owen Hammerberg
Photo: Courtesy ancestry.com

Prior to service, Owen lived with his father downstate in Flint and worked as a shop clerk.  In 1941, he enlisted with the Navy as a diver, serving on both the Battleship USS Idaho and Sub Chaser USS Advent.  He attended Deep Sea Diving School in Washington DC in 1944 and eventually was assigned to the Pacific Fleet Salvage Force in Pearl Harbor, in the territory of Hawaii.  These experiences would prepare him for an assignment where his  bravery and skill would excel and consequently call his life to an abrupt end. Continue reading “Owen Francis Hammerberg – Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class – Park 26”