Ginny McIver looks through the scrapbook her mother, Dora Bernier, compiled of Lisbon service people during World War II. McIver says she remembers a majority of the people in the scrapbook. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

BRUNSWICK — The first photograph is of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The caption states it is believed to be the last picture of the president before his death in 1945. Next to FDR is a photo of President Harry S. Truman. The two were the bookends for America’s role in World War II.

Ginny McIver with the scrapbook her mother, Dora Bernier, compiled of Lisbon service people during World War II. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The last entries are a series of poems written by servicemen as part of “Poet Tree” columns in the Lewiston Evening Journal.

In between are about 300 photos of nearly every serviceman from Lisbon, Lisbon Center and Lisbon Falls who fought in World War II. Some are notices of induction, awards earned, engagements, marriages and, sadly, death.

The hefty scrapbook filled with cutouts from the Lewiston Evening Journal, was compiled by Dora Bernier, who died in 1996. The care and work put into building dozens of pages filled with local soldiers and sailors is evidence of Bernier’s respect and love for the Lisbon servicemen.

“I knew a lot of these people,” Bernier’s daughter said. “I can go through this picture by picture and say their names.”

Now 89, Ginny McIver is proud to still have her mother’s scrapbook.

The war affected everyone. Some of McIver’s family is included in the scrapbook — brothers, cousins and uncles. One cousin, Ensign George Beal, died during the war.

McIver was a teenager when World War II began. She followed along as her mother began cutting out everything in the newspaper concerning residents of the three Lisbon communities who were involved in the war in Europe and the Pacific. She would put the clippings in a box until she had enough to put in her scrapbook.

“I would come home from a dance around 10 p.m. and start to go through the box,” McIver said. “I was reading everything, and my family would have to get me by midnight to get me to bed.”

The scrapbook Ginny McIver’s mother, Dora Bernier, compiled of Lisbon service people during World War II. McIver says she remembers a majority of the people in the scrapbook. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

She said she was the only sibling who took interest in her mother’s project, which is how she took ownership of it following her mother’s death.

Photos of young men in uniform — shown with their fiancees or wives — announcing engagements or weddings are most striking next to all the servicemen photos, including the few that died.

The first photo in the scrapbook after the two presidents is Edward Kisonak, a Navy veteran who fought in the Philippines. Kisonak later worked as a reporter, editor and editorial writer for the Lewsiton Daily Sun. The clipping reports Kisonak was accepted for Naval officer training at Columbia University after serving as a yeoman for a year.

McIver remembers a lot of anxiety during the war, fearful of receiving bad news in the mail or having someone knock at the door.

With no children, McIver is uncertain what will become of the scrapbook after she dies. She says no one in her extended family wants it. She might seek a home for it at one of the area historical societies.

In the meantime, the memories tug at her heart whenever she looks at it.

“All the young people dying. It’s still unbelievable to me,” McIver said. “They were so young. I don’t know if we learned anything from it or not.”


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