FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 4, 2013
PEARL HARBOR ARTIFACTS FROM WISCONSIN SERVICEWOMAN BECOME ADDITIONS TO THE WISCONSIN VETERANS MUSEUM
MADISON, Wis. (Dec. 4, 2013) ― With Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Saturday, The Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison is proud to announce the newest pieces to enter its collection – personal items of servicewoman Rhoda Ann Ziesler-Weller when she was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii from 1941-1945.
While The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is home to both permanent and traveling exhibits, as well as a research center, not many realize it is also home to a 26,000-piece artifact
collection. With uniforms, pieces of equipment, armament, flags, insignia, decorations, personal items, and souvenirs used and collected by Wisconsin citizens over the past 150 years, the artifact collection is more than a collection of things – it is a collection of fragments of history. Each artifact has its own personal story, and Rhoda’s takes place 72 years ago. Her items, and many others, can be viewed by scheduling an appointment.
Rhoda Ann Ziesler was born on Dec. 17, 1916 in Florence, Wis. and later moved to Manitowoc, Wis. where she graduated from Lincoln High School in 1934. On December 16, 1940, Rhoda entered the Army Nurse Corps and trained at Camp Custer, Mich. Her first duty assignment was the 215th General Hospital at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where she arrived on Nov. 9, 1941. As a head nurse of a medical ward containing 112 beds, Rhoda kept all records and rendering reports, supervised six nurses, and was assistant to the chief nurse of a 600 bed hospital.
Not even a month into her duty as a nurse, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, “A day which will live in infamy,” as proclaimed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The attack resulted in more than 2,400 lives lost and 1,100 wounded.
Rhoda witnessed the Japanese bombing run, and detailed her experience later in an application for a Pearl Harbor commemorative medal.
“On the morning of the attack, I and several other nurses were on duty and stepped outdoors to see what happening. The Japanese planes were flying so low. We could see the rising sun [on the planes].”
Rhoda survived, and after the war married Robert Weller from Chilton, Wis, whom she met in Hawaii. She later received many awards and merits for the time she served.
RHODA’S PERSONAL COLLECTION AT THE MUSEUM
Rhoda was stationed in Pearl Harbor Hawaii for four years and her service remained a source of extreme pride for the rest of her life, until her death in 2001.
Rhoda’s journal, along with photographs, her nurse’s uniform, letters, a flashlight she used during numerous blackouts, hunting knife, grass skirt and other Hawaiian souvenirs, have been added to The Wisconsin Veterans Museum’s collection. You can view items such as
Rhoda’s by setting up an exclusive one-on-one appointment at the Museum.
To schedule interviews, contact Jennifer Carlson at (608)-264-6086. The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is a free public educational activity of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and is located at 30 W. Mifflin St., across the street from the State Capitol. For more information go to www.wisvetsmuseum.com.
201 West Washington Avenue | Madison, Wisconsin 53707
1-800-WIS-VETS | WisVets@dva.wisconsin.gov | WisVets.com