Stories from the Second World War resonate with residents of The Preston of the Park Cities, especially war stories with themes of romance and heroism, such as the one Carl David Adams shared during his talk at the senior living community.
Adams, who is a Dallas civil law attorney by profession, is also a songwriter and screenwriter. His song and documentary film, “Inside Ten Days©: A Tribute to the Men of the USS Columbia CL-56”, were the subjects of a Watermark University session sponsored by The Preston on December 3. The story, now preserved for all time through his efforts, is the story of an uncle he never knew, Calvin Dewitt Adams.
Calvin and his younger brother, Russell (Carl’s father), were brothers living near the small northeast Texas town of Mount Vernon, Texas, when Calvin enlisted in the United States Navy on November 10th, 1943. Prior to his death on January 9, 1945, from the attack of a Japanese kamikaze plane, Calvin served as a turret gunner on the USS Columbia CL-56 in five major Allied naval engagements in the Pacific war, beginning July 1944.
Calvin's remains were never found. He was officially listed by the Navy and on the Memorial Plaque mounted on the ship by the members of its crew at the end of the war as MIA. In May 1997 his family conducted a memorial service at a church near his home and placed a granite monument to his memory in the cemetery there. At the time of his death, Calvin was 19 and was engaged to Alma Lee Scroggins, his sweetheart from nearby Scroggins, Texas.
After his untimely death, Alma Lee and Calvin's older brother, Truman Adams, worked tirelessly to see that his family took this public step to honor Calvin for his ultimate sacrifice. Although more than 50 years had passed, Carl, touched by the compelling circumstances revealed at the memorial service for his uncle, decided to write a love song in honor of Calvin and Alma Lee. Until 2005, however, the song remained incomplete.
"Looking back now, the reason I feel I made such little progress on the song for years, was my lack of knowledge of the details of Calvin's final days on board USS Columbia and what he and this brave crew endured in early 1945," Carl said.
In late summer 2005, Carl decided to do additional research into the circumstances of the wartime service of Calvin and learn more details of his time onboard USS Columbia.
He became a member of the USS Columbia CL-56 Association, which is maintained by members of the crew and their surviving families. Carl also received invaluable help from other members of the Association regarding the historical details of the horrifying circumstances of the ship and crew near the time of his uncle's death.
What he discovered was fascinating.
USS Columbia CL-56 was one of the most decorated ships of the war in the Pacific and suffered heavy casualties at the hands of the Japanese kamikaze campaign (mounted from late 1944 through the end of the war in 1945).
The ship sustained three kamikaze attacks in the first 10 days of 1945 (the third one killing Calvin on January 9, 1945) while part of the allied Naval forces providing support for the amphibious invasion in the Lingayen Gulf of the island of Luzon in the Philippines, which began on January 9, 1945.
Close study of the declassified Navy records of casualties among the crew in that time frame revealed that more than 76% of those killed and missing in action for the entire war had died within those first 10 deadly and terrifying days of 1945.
Suddenly, Carl realized that his song about an uncle he had never met and his sweetheart was destined to become a much larger historical tale of breathtaking valor, courage and sacrifice of the entire crew of young men onboard USS Columbia CL-56 in the first 10 days of 1945.
Lyrics that had steadfastly refused to reveal themselves for years suddenly flowed freely as Carl completed within hours his song in tribute to the crew of USS Columbia and his uncle Calvin, titled "Inside Ten Days©.”
"All those years I think I subconsciously resisted using lyrics that really 'went there,' meaning telling the graphic details of the kamikaze attacks on the ship," Carl said. "Once I realized I could only do the crew and those who died on USS Columbia true and historical justice by working hard to assure that the lyrics 'went there,' the song all but wrote itself."
Inside Ten Days© is an original song (lyrics and music) and video script copyrighted by Carl David Adams. To view the video, visit https://youtu.be/IOC5rUPZUjE.
“Carl’s story about his journey to tell his uncle’s story was full of history and humanity,” said Ke’o Velasquez, Executive Director, The Preston of the Park Cities. “Our residents were touched and impressed by Carl’s dedication to ensuring that an uncle he never knew could live on in song and film.”
The talk was part of the community’s Watermark University fall series, which features integrated programmatic offerings in the seven dimensions of wellness (spiritual, emotional, vocational, physical, social, environmental, and intellectual).
The program is a signature of Watermark Retirement Communities® at the 58 communities in 21 states it manages, including The Preston of the Park Cities, which is owned by Dallas-based Silverstone Senior Living.
The Preston of the Park Cities, parkcities.watermarkcommunities.com, is a full-service luxury rental retirement community offering Assisted Living, The Bridge and Memory Care. The community is located at 5917 Sherry Lane, Dallas 75225.
ABOUT THE PRESTON OF THE PARK CITIES
The Preston of the Park Cities is a full-service luxury rental retirement community with 134 residences offering Assisted Living, The Bridge and Memory Care. Located at 5917 Sherry Lane, Dallas 75225, in the prestigious Park Cities / Preston Hollow area, the community features an amenity-rich lifestyle with dynamic programs, fine dining, and concierge services. The Preston of the Park Cities is owned by Dallas-based Silverstone Senior Living and operated by Watermark Retirement Communities®. Visit parkcities.watermarkcommunities.com for more information.
ABOUT SILVERSTONE SENIOR LIVING
Silverstone Senior Living develops high-quality senior housing communities which provide independent living, assisted living and memory care services in Texas, Florida, and the Mid-Atlantic states. The principals of Silverstone have extensive experience and an excellent track record in the real estate industry. This experience includes designing, developing, managing, operating, and owning premier properties throughout the nation and across all the major asset platforms for both public and private companies. Silverstone is committed to developing and operating “best in class” communities that are as comfortable as home, luxurious as a country club, and provide the highest level of care. Visit silverstoneseniorliving.com for more information.
ABOUT WATERMARK RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES®
Watermark creates extraordinary communities where people thrive. We believe aging is about renewal rather than retirement. Watermark communities are known for highly trained and caring associates, a lifestyle built on choice, fine amenities, integrative wellness, and innovative programs including the award-winning Watermark University featuring a wide variety of engaging classes for residents and area seniors. Watermark has been named in the top 25 Best Workplaces for Aging Services in a national program conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute and published on Fortune.com. A privately held company with a reputation for over 30 years for service, innovation, integrity and financial stability, Watermark manages more than 65 retirement communities coast to coast. Based in Tucson AZ, Watermark is ranked as the nation’s 9th-leading senior housing operator by the American Seniors Housing Association. Visit watermarkcommunities.com for more information.