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Author plans talk on how Pearl Harbor hit small-town Minnesota

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BEMIDJI— Author Paul Sailer will discuss his book on the air war in World War II, as well as how the Pearl Harbor attack impacted northern Minnesota communities, at 10:30 a.m. today at the Beltrami County History Center at 10:30 a.m.

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“The Oranges Are Sweet” highlights the experiences of Major Don Beerbower of Hill City who was one of the top aces of the U.S. Ninth Air Force. Beerbower served as commander of the 353rd Fighter Squadron, “The Fighting Cobras,” which had more kills by war’s end than any other squadron in the entire U.S. Army Air Force. He died while strafing a Luftwaffe air base near Reims, France, in 1944.

Sailer said the talk will emphasize the role Pearl Harbor played in moving Beerbower to join the armed forces. Beerbower was a student at Iowa State University when the attack occurred, and although his status as a student exempted him from the draft, he volunteered within five weeks of Dec. 7.

Although the talk will highlight how the people of Beerbower’s hometown reacted to the attack, Sailer said their experience is comparable to how local citizens responded.

“What happened there happened in Bemidji, it happened in Red Lake, it happened all across northern Minnesota,” he said.

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