101-year-old Colorado Springs woman recalls serving our country after Pearl Harbor was attacked

Published: Dec. 7, 2020 at 7:41 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - On this day 79 years ago, the Navy base Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan, and so began the United States’ involvement in World War II.

What you may not know is a Colorado Springs woman was one of the first women accepted for volunteer emergency service, or “WAVES,” to serve in the war.

Margaret Durbin is 101 and half, but she still remembers her service in WWII like it was yesterday. She says she just wanted to help her country. Durbin now spends a lot of her days working on crossword puzzles. But on Monday 79 years ago, she was listening to one of the most horrific attacks in our country’s history.

“I was teaching school in Hartwell, Georgia ... and we were listening to the radio all about Pearl Harbor,” she recalled. “And that was the first time I really got excited about it. I wanted to do something.”

So she did.

“I wrote them and said I was interested. And so I joined and went to Smith College to train. That is one my one claim to fame,” Durbin exclaimed.

Durbin trained to be a code officer and was sent to Charleston to work in the code room. It was there where she met her husband. Not many women did what Durbin did, especially back in 1943. But to her, it was just a calling.

“I never think about that really, but I’m glad I did what it did,”

Decades later, she sits in her rocking chair on her porch at Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care. She can look back at her service proudly.

“I found, I felt life then exciting. It still is,” Durbin said. “And I think what I’d want, well, my children, what I wanted them to do, you know, meet the day, be the best, enjoy, be the joy. That’s exactly what I tried to do.”

This week Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care honored Durbin with a special certificate through its “We Honor Veterans” program.

Meet Margaret Durbin. As a young woman (left), she joined the women's branch of the U.S. Navy Reserve and worked as a...

Posted by Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care on Monday, December 7, 2020

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