J. Kirk Davis shares the story of his parents Colonel Charles W. and Joan Davis in his book, The Hero & the Beauty, honoring their selfless determination, valor, and heroism during World War II.
The book eloquently narrates the details of the couple’s lives with copious evidence in the form of letters and photographs from his mother’s collection, including dozens of valuable signatures of presidents, generals, and celebrities.
Kirk’s parents were survivors, victors, and bearers of the ominous times they lived in, yet they never thought of sharing their story publicly. Their reticence wasn’t just a matter of modesty, however.
As an adult, Kirk experienced difficulty in coaxing details from his parents about their most heroic moments. He attributes their silence to post-traumatic syndrome disorder, or PTSD, and spent years piecing together the details.
“As an artist and romanticist I was compelled to reprise their sterling years filled with passion, love, and honor,” Kirk says.
The young couple knew little of the fame, honor, and responsibility they would experience in the coming years through their career of service in the armed forces.
Kirk’s mother, Joan, was a stunning beauty who once turned down invitations to a Hollywood screen test. Far from the glamorous lifestyle that may have led to, she was living in officers’ quarters near Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked the island in Hawaii. She dodged enemy fire, was evacuated to safety that night, and slept on the floor of a high school gym — all before giving birth to the couple’s first child in Honolulu the next day.
The actions that earned his father the prestigious Medal of Honor and a lifetime of acclaim occurred about a year later over two days in the Pacific Theater.
When Colonel Davis volunteered to scout an enemy stronghold on Guadalcanal Island in January 1943, he wanted to liberate his battalion from the exhaustion of intense heat, dehydration, and an insurmountable barrage of enemy crossfire.
After radioing the enemy’s location, Colonel Davis led a charge the next day that reversed the American Army’s stalemate on the island’s Galloping Horse Hill and eliminating the enemy.
After retirement, Charles Davis served as president of the National Medal of Honor Society and as an advisor on the White House Commission on Veterans Affairs under President Ronald Reagan. Charles died January 16, 1991 at the age of 73. Joan died June 27, 2013, at 98 years old. They are both buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.