Bob Mitchell: Day still lives on in infamy

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Mitchell

Next Wednesday, Dec. 7, will always be a Day in Infamy, so proclaimed by the late Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 when he asked Congress to declare war on Japan after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.

Even though that was 75 years ago, in many minds today, that declaration remains deeply embedded in the minds of many generations.

If that egregious act has now escaped some people's memories, those individuals need to make some history available and step into being Americans again. That Sunday morning plunged the United States into World War II and put segments of our Armed Forces in line for some of the most horrific treatments previously known to man.

Today's world partner

Bitter enemies from 1941 to 1945, the U.S. and Japan, the latter paid a high price for their treachery in the Pacific Ocean with an unconditional surrender on August 14, to now becoming partners for peace in the Far East. Many of those years after that cession of hostilities, the U.S. set in to rebuild Japan and make her once again a manufacturing giant in the world's economy.

And, since that time, members of the U.S. Armed Forces have held a big stake in Japan's economy and in keeping with that country's standing in the western regions of the Pacific.

History lesson

Today's generations are outside the loop as far as history of this part of the nation's taking a pounding and then, through the resolve known possibly only in America, rising up to deal their enemy a resounding defeat.

That history is visible today at Pearl Harbor where the battleship USS Arizona lies below the surface of the harbor. She's been there these 7-1/2 decades with thousands of her crew entombed in her decks. There is a stark reminder of what lies below the surface as oil from the Arizona's fuel tanks periodically make it to the surface.

It's a reminder that isn't likely to go away as the ship's memorial is preserved for posterity.

USS Missouri

Between the U.S. Navy and interest in Pearl Harbor, berthed nearby, the Arizona memorial, sets the USS Missouri, an appropriate reminder of Japan's defeat and surrender after four years of horrific actions as WWII raged in the Pacific.

The Arizona site I've seen, the Missouri nearby I have not. I can tell you for sure, standing above the sunken wreckage can have a sobering effect on a person. It can also make one proud to be an American, and serve to make one resolve to do their part that this part of America's history isn't repeated.

Off the spike

With the possibility of winter weather being possibly just around the corner, this story comes to mind. One winter, when there was actually some snow lingering on the ground, it became necessary for me to get out in the weather to perform usual newspaper duties. Being without four-buckle overshoes at the time, I went down the street to Fannings to purchase the shoe covers. Carl Fanning apologized. He had sold out and didn't know when he would be resupplied. But, if you were familiar with Carl, you know he had a method to solve the problem. He sold me his own overshoes, at a reduced price, which made me a good customer of his for several years, and the four-buckled overshoes lasted several seasons.

Phone scam

A new wrinkle on a fake call came in over our line recently. After answering, on the other end came "This is your grandson." Since there was no voice recognition, I asked, "which one?" This brought a response, "Granddad, guess which one!" Since my grandsons all call me "pop," this caller got a prompt dispatch with a hang-up.

Some day these electronic gadgets of ours might be smart enough to handle only those communications that we want to handle, knocking the pests off the line.

Jim Couch hole

Not too long ago, the term Jim Couch hole on Kings River brought back memories out of the past. This was an area on the river that attracted many weekend picnickers to the waters in the hot summer months.

The location was on the Viola side of the Shell Knob community. The long stretch of water had a good rapid, ideal for tubing, followed by a good stretch of swimming water. A generous gravel bar afforded plenty of space for picnic baskets and blankets. The area was later purchased by Bernie and Alice Hougan and became Green Shores subdivision.

The Hougans surprised our kids swimming off the point one afternoon by coming to the water in their bathing suits and bar of soap for a Sunday bath.

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

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