Bob Mitchell: Hey, Cassville: What are we waiting for?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I'm not sure what the waiting is for.

Is it because Cassville is just one of those communities slow to give recognition when achievement is realized? Or, is it just because people here don't fully understand what Janet Kavandi has achieved?

Those who have any age on them might shake the cobwebs out and remember she is a daughter of the late Bill and Ruth Sellers of Cassville. Bill was the second county sanitarian to be employed by the Barry County Health Unit. Ruth was a member of my high school graduation class back in 1947. Their eldest daughter has accomplished more in the space activities than any other woman. She is serving as administrator to the Space Center in Cleveland, the first female to reach this level in NASA.

She's made three trips into space, and those trips were to the International Space Station.

Her parents were killed in an airplane collision over Oklahoma, as were passengers Mr. and Mrs. Paul Land, when another pilot attending a rodeo there with them came up under their aircraft.

At the time, Ruth was deputy county clerk to the late George England.

Raised in Carthage

Janet and a younger sister, now a resident of Springfield, were raised in Carthage by their aunt, Mrs. Edward England and her husband. Neither of the Sellers' children were born in Cassville, primarily due to some uncertain factors of doctors and hospitalization here at the time.

To commemorate her achievements, the city of Carthage long ago proclaimed in a sign at all entrances, Home of Astronaut Janet Kavandi.

Time for us to act

Now is the time for Cassville to act to recognize this family for what their daughter has achieved. While Kavandi wasn't born inside the Cassville city limits, this was her home, out on Washburn Prairie, at the time she arrived on the scene. It would be appropriate for Cassville to prominently state, on a sign at all entrances to town: Birthplace of Astronaut and NASA Administrator Janet Kavandi.

The organization or government entity that steps up to make this project happen will accomplish an achievement for the community and end a long delay in giving a great American woman the due credit for what she has achieved in her lifetime, which began as a resident of Cassville.

The recognition is long overdue.

Armed Forces events

First of these events was last Sunday, the 71st. anniversary of V-E Day, Victory in Europe, designating the defeat of Germany in World War II. My generation was still in high school at the time. The happening spawned a serious celebration in Springfield, which was our home at the time.

The largest of the observances was at the corner of Jefferson and St. Louis, where there was a genuine and loud observance, but there wasn't a person who got out of line, and there were no injuries suffered as a result of the merriment. There was a sigh of relief in many males of my age, as we were getting close to the point of being draft bait for the military. Our sighs of relief were probably among some of the loudest to be heard.

Although it was to be 2-1/2 months later before WWII was to end with V-J Day, Victory in Japan, the signs appeared to be about everywhere that the pain and suffering of this world-wide conflict was coming to an end. What had begun in 1941 with the Japanese sneak attack at Pearl Harbor was about to be over, and peace would be before the world for a short period of time.

Armed Forces Day

Those around who might be interested in the Armed Forces might have overlooked this past Sunday, which has been designated Armed Forces Day, since the services were reorganized back in 1949 at the direction of then-President Harry S. Truman. The purpose of the reorganization was to bring the military forces together under a unified command that would be more efficient and serve the nation well.

The proposal didn't set well with the old, hard-line military of the country, but President Truman thought his action was correct and believing military quickly brought the idea to reality.

Helping as much to sell the idea to the military was the first Secretary of the Air Force under this mandate. He was actually an easterner, but was heading a company in St. Louis at the time. In later years, he became senior U.S. Senator from Missouri. His name was Stuart Symington. His tenure in the U.S. Senate was paramount in construction of the Central Crossing Bridge between the Shell Knob and Viola communities of Table Rock Lake.

During his tenure as Air Force civilian chief, Symington was credited with establishing the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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

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