Bob Mitchell: Here's May

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

We've just dropped into May, which can be one of the most enjoyable months of the spring. The oak tree leaves are as large as a squirrel's ear, which usually means fish in Table Rock, or other streams of the area, ought to be hitting on top.

This year might be somewhat different, depending on the temperature of the water. Regardless, there are other things to busy ourselves with in the coming weeks that aren't always around in other coming periods.

V-E Day

One of the important dates will be this Friday, V-E Day. For those of you who were outside that 1945 generation event, it is 70 years since World War II was over in Europe. That marked the first phase of getting out of this conflict since the United States was thrown into the war in 1941.

It seems like it wasn't that long ago on a warm evening in Springfield when a group of us were returning home from a baseball game, to join a crowd at Jefferson and St. Louis, near the old Colonial Hotel, which was celebrating the end of this phase of the war. We had won the game and this felt like a complete evening for this group of young boys.

We were especially thankful since we were juniors in high school and soon to become draft bait, as it was called in those days.

There wasn't anything going on that was out of line, just a lot of jubilation and thankful expressions that the war, at least this part of it, was over.

Mother's Day

Sunday is probably one of the most important dates of the month, Mother's Day. This holiday is meant to make Mom know how much we appreciate her giving us life and then shepherding us through most of it.

My mother was my boss until she departed this earth at age 96. For most of the time, from 1953-95, when she used the term "u-ought-to," I knew exactly what she meant. This was the signal that either I was about to do something wrong with the Cassville Democrat, or she had an idea of something that needed to be done.

Nearly all the time we could come to an agreement about the particular approach to a problem or project. After her passing, that "u-ought-to" kept ringing in my ears every time there would be a couple of ways to approach a particular subject.

Armed Force Day

President Harry S. Truman was in the White House in 1949 when the Army, Navy, Air Corps and Coast Guard were united into the Armed Forces. I was in Norfolk, Va., at the headquarters of the Commander of the Atlantic Fleet Headquarters.

The idea of being thrown into the mix with the other military organizations didn't go over very well.

There were still strong feelings among Navy personnel that their particular branch of the services didn't have any business being that close to the others. The Navy had a special mission and purpose and that was it, nothing else would fit.

Not too long after this action became official, the battleship Missouri went aground off Hampton Roads. About that time, the admiral, who was head of the Atlantic Fleet, was in Washington, D.C., for an early-day television show. During the interview, he was shown a newspaper front page of Air Corps plans pulling the battlewagon out of the mud and went ballistic.

Ten days later, instead of becoming the top admiral in the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, he was retired.

Memorial Day

It's early this year, Memorial Day, the unofficial beginning of summer.

It's also the time of the year when those who have served their country and are no longer living, should be remembered at their burial site with the designation of an American Flag.

This holiday, held May 25 this year, also generates one of the most powerful messages, with displays of the U.S. Flag at local residences and businesses. Cassville's business routes are also marked with displays on light standards, provided by Irwin-Easley American Legion Post 118 of Cassville.

Years ago, the weeks before Memorial Day were a signal for members of the American Legion to make the rounds of Cassville, both residences and places of business, to make sure everyone had the opportunity to possess an appropriate flag display kit for the holiday. If there was a situation where finances prohibited someone owning a flag, one was often provided.

There were times when a plain screwdriver wasn't adequate to mount the bracket to a wall.

In such cases, a special crew had to make the installation.

There was always a way to get the job done for displaying a Memorial Day flag.

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