Bob Mitchell: Important historic dates
Between the span of eight years, 70 years ago, there were three points of history that ranked in the foremost of America's existence.
They all involved a time of conflict during the Korean War and World War II. The people of the latter time have been labeled the Greatest Generation.
There are a few of them remaining today -- most of whom don't seek or want any publicity concerning their service to the nation. But, unlike school history books of these days, the dates are important to the history of this country and will always be a part of this column to keep the memory of their existence on record.
This was the Armistice, ending the Korean War that had been thrust upon this country to stop Communist aggression in that far Pacific nation. Divided at the end of World War II, the peninsula nation had been a trouble spot for several years.
When the communists in the north invaded the south, where American troops were stationed, it became a United Nations' responsibility to come to the aid of South Korea, which -- as usual -- leaned heavily on resources and personnel of the United States.
Complete run-over of the south was nearly achieved by the north, as American forces were not only overwhelmed, but not led very expertly, in some instances. Only heavy reinforcements and some bypassing amphibious operations skirting enemy forces saved the day.
Four years of conflict ended with Korea still as divided as she is today.
On Aug. 6 and 9, atomic bombs were dropped on respectively Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, resulting in a surrender less than a week following the missions. This was in 1945 -- an appropriate payback for the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that thrust this nation in WWII in 1941.
The last account I read in a high school history book played only on the negative side of the two actions that brought this country's foes to their knees.
As a rebuttal to this approach, there are WWII veterans remaining in the community today who recall being off the coast of Japan in the invasion force to land on that island nation had the raids not forced an unconditional surrender. One of these was Bob _ of Cassville.
He has recited several times now thankful for himself and many others in the military that the late President Harry Truman ordered the action.
The late B.F. Babb, a Marine Corps sniper, was in the same armada and shared this attitude.
Both reiterated, time after time, that the missions saved so many lives on both sides, and that the number of casualties would have been tremendous.
Visit to both seaports
During Navy days, our flagship put-in at both seaports hit by the attacks, and there was no doubt the destruction was complete. During the ports of call, there was never any show of attitudes by the Japanese people. This was in the early 1950s, and perhaps there had been a time of healing.
There was without a doubt an attempt by this country to assist in the healing of these two towns that were obliterated by the attacks. There were others in Japan that had been virtually fire bombed out of existence. They, too, were receiving all the assistance the US could pour into their areas.
It was in Hiroshima that the photo experience of a lifetime occurred. During a visit to a YMCA to make a visitation agenda for our crew, we noticed a lecture series by two German Jews who had left Germany when persecution had begun. They still held patients in the German Leica camera.
We went to the lecture and invited them aboard the Mt. McKinley afterwards to see our photo and transmission facilities. We had dinner in the officer's mess and they visited several hours with anyone who wanted to attend, including the admiral.
Their fleeing to Japan at the head of WWII meant a bonanza of optic information for the Japanese that has led them to the forefront today with the Pentax and Canon camera units in this country. Other cameras in the US today that come from Japan originated with these two men.
Off the spike
I wonder how much better Cassville would look these days if yard sale and garage sale signs didn't adorn light poles at popular intersections. City ordinances prohibit this action, but, apparently, no one who is responsible for enforcing the law is aware or interested in making the town more presentable.
Perhaps the establishment of a central posting point is the answer. Let's try it and see if there is improvement.
Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.