UCLA football players and Memorial Day . . .

The “Classic UCLA Bruins, Rediscovered” blog has a Memorial Day tribute to four UCLA football-players who lost their lives during World War II.

One of the men was Charles B. Pike.  Not too long ago, some of Pike’s war letters and other correspondence appeared on eBay.  I did bid on them, unsuccessfully.  I hope whoever has them is a football fan.

Francis Wai is probably the most noted of UCLA football-players to perish during World War II.  He was ultimately awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the story of his heroism is awe-inspiring.

UCLA has saluted its veterans more than once.  Here are two places on the internet:

UCLA Magazine

UCLA Athletics

Ironically, the UCLA Magazine article shows a picture of Merle Harris running with the ball, and identifies him as Francis Wai.

UCLA loves to brag about its athletes who participated in the Olympics or who ended up in the NFL (as do other schools, of course).  Those kinds of claims pale into insignificance when one considers the contributions of the many Bruins (athletes and non-athletes) who have died in the service of our country.




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One Response to UCLA football players and Memorial Day . . .

  1. Thanks for the plug … With respect to the UCLA Magazine article, that is most definitely MERLE HARRIS (# 18) running with the football (against University of Iowa in 1938)

    I think I used to have a tendency to forget about Charlie Pike, probably because his time at UCLA was just a bit before the Kenny Washington Era. But I remember you brought him up in a previous discussion on one of your blog pieces here before, and so now I never forget about Pike. In fact, I have to admit here that I never knew the story of fullback Don Hesse (UCLA varsity in 38 & 39) until very recently — all the credit in the world to researcher Bill Beigel, who has done magnificent work.

    Of course, all the UCLA Bruins, athletes or otherwise, who ever made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country, be it during World War II or otherwise, are all great heroes – no doubt!

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