Ozarks Viewpoints

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Mitchell

There won't be any parades in Cassville to mark the occasion, but Tuesday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day.

While not important to some, to approximately 3,000 Barry Countians who have served in the Armed Forces of this country, this will possibly bring back memories -- some good, some bad.

According to the Missouri Veterans' Commission and the Veterans Administration, these local veterans served in wartime, not peacetime.

Wartime breakout

Of the 3,000, the agencies estimate 5 percent were in World War II -- about 150 still living. Three hundred served in the Korean War, about 10 percent. These are 2013 statistics. There were no World War I veterans living in Barry County, as the last living U.S. Veteran of that war died in 2011.

From the VA for the year previous to these numbers, there were about 3,500 veterans listed in the county.

Vietnam veterans residing in the county are estimated at 1,020. The veterans organizations also estimate Barry County is home to 780 veterans of the period that ranges from the Gulf War to present conflicts at 780.

According to the numbers provided, about 10 percent of Barry County's population has served their country in wartime. Numbers in veteran organization membership roles indicate these veterans are not participating in these functions as they once did.

World War I

The final three World War I veterans in this community were prominent in the way they had served -- not only in the Army, but in Cassville as well.

J.A. (Pop) Blalack, Chevrolet dealer, held the most IDC stock and was benefactor for the American Legion financially by signing their note during construction of the post home.

Charley Riddle, Cassville shoe cobbler, was a longtime city councilman and school board member who was involved in some early Cassville progress.

Charley Willis, an insurance agent, was not a native of Cassville, but dived into local activities and advancements throughout his lifetime and probably sang at more funerals than any other man in the community.

Profiteers

Believe it or not, Cassville saw profiteers during World War II who made fortunes on the fact that rationed or hard-to-get items could be sold if the buyer agreed to pay a high price. This practice was known throughout the community, and -- as in other communities in the nation -- wasn't touched unless the violations were on a large scale.

If there was a fortunate part of the practices in marketing a number of items, in later years some entities received funds that would never have been available through other means.

Choices

People from Barry County didn't always have a choice of service, especially during WWII, when the Selective Service System, or County Draft Boards, would give them a rating and then a possible call-up, depending on requirements of the Armed Forces.

Virtually from that point on, the country's Armed Forces relied on volunteer status for their personnel. Drafting of soldiers, sailors and airmen has not been necessary in more recent military actions.

Flags will fly

On light standards, businesses and homes, the flag of the United States of America will fly on this day to remember the living and dead who gave of themselves so humanity -- at home and on other shores -- could face a better life.

The Irwin-Easley American Legion Post of Cassville will once again post flags on light standards through the main streets in town.

Breakfast

Also in recognition of Veterans Day, the Legion will serve its annual free community breakfast on Saturday, serving a hearty breakfast beginning at 6 a.m., which will run through the duration of food available. Legion cooks are known for their ability to send folks out of the post home without being hungry.

Legion cooks will provide a full breakfast menu in a buffet-style service in the basement of the Legion home.

School program

Veterans Day will feature the annual veterans recognition, presented by Cassville Schools. The program will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the high school gym. This too will be open to the public, with special emphasis placed on veterans to be recognized during the program. Both speech and music departments will present the program.

Thanksgiving coming

Since we're bouncing into the month of November, it might be appropriate to make a reminder that the 27th is Thanksgiving Day. It might be time for some to start looking for a turkey, one with feathers, or making travel plans.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.