Open a computer, type in the address of any news or social networking website, and within minutes, a person could be abreast of virtually any newsworthy event occurring planet-wide. But 68 years ago, it was hard to get instant news about even the most important things.

Open a computer, type in the address of any news or social networking website, and within minutes, a person could be abreast of virtually any newsworthy event occurring planet-wide. But 68 years ago, it was hard to get instant news about even the most important things.


As part of an interview last Wednesday, Rep. Ralph Hall shared a portion of the diary he kept while training to become a Navy aircraft carrier pilot in the final stages of World War II. The diary entries were written from Daytona Beach, Fla. during the Spring of 1945, when the war in Europe was waning, and yet uncertainty still colored day-to-day life.


For Ralph Hall, every day that went by without peace across the Atlantic meant another day that his older brother Hugh was in danger. Already during the war, Hall saw his best friend lose a leg in combat, and his brother in harm’s way was often top of mind.


In April Hall, and many others, thought the news that they were waiting on had finally arrived, as his diary entry for April 28 shows.


"April 28, 1945 — War in Germany is over. One of the greatest days in my life. I hope Hugh is still well. Mary and I just got word tonight. What a happy day. I only wish it could have happened before Davy Joe was hurt. (Hall: "That was my best friend, got his leg blowed off over there.) Thank God for this day."


"April 29 — The report was not true, maybe any day now."


The next day, Hall finally passed qualification to earn the right to land on an actual aircraft carrier, after months of training.


"April 30 — Qualified in field carrier landings today, Polk and I. I had quite a time in those boys, but believe I’m out of it now. Polk and I took a run up the country, did a lot of flat-hatting. Scared one farmer’s mule and he turned a plow over."


A few days later, word finally came that Germany had agreed to peace. But with only weeks-old letters as Hugh’s status updates, Hall was left to wonder whether the armistice had been signed in time for his brother’s safety.


"May 7 — War in Europe is over. Peace was signed at 2:41 p.m. French time. President (Harry S.) Truman still will announce it tomorrow but it’s true. Hope Hugh is OK. Now when we hear from him something will be wonderful. I had a bad day hop today but who cares.


May 8 — This is the declared V-E day. Heard President Truman and (British Prime Minister Winston) Churchill speak today. No help on field carrier landings. Got word that the carrier was going out Thursday. Last refresher tomorrow."


Hall would ship-out for the Pacific Theater three days later. He wouldn’t see his wife of seven months for another year and a half.


"May 11 — Rode C-47 to Ft. Lauderdale. Boarded carrier. I liked everything fine. ‘Bout like I always figured it would be. I miss Mary already.