A Glance at the Past
We left our church family in late October of 1944, unaware that our Navy had achieved a huge victory in the Pacific Ocean while supporting General MacArthur’s return to the Philippine Islands. Just as we do today, however, they did support the children dressing up for Halloween. The Girard News of Friday, November 3rd reported that Girard’s streets on Tuesday evening the 31st had been jammed for the parade which was led by the Girard High School Band with more than 100 Halloweeners following. The weather had been favorable. As I write this, the prognosis is a little iffy for this coming Thursday’s Halloweeners, but maybe it will change.
That week’s issue of the News also reported that one Girard boy was missing in action with two wounded and one war prisoner in Germany. In the preceding months most of the news in prior editions of the weekly paper had focused on the war along with items of local interest. Now, however, with a huge national, state and local election occurring on the following Tuesday, the two slates of candidates took up the bulk of this issue of the Girard News. The Republican slate for President was Thomas E. Dewey, President, and John W Bricker, Vice President. Dewey was the Governor of the State of New York and Bricker the Governor of our State of Ohio. The Democratic slate for President was Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeking his 4th term as President and Harry S Truman, a Senator from the State of Missouri. For the State of Ohio Governorship, the candidates were Republican: Rep. James Garfield Steward and Democratic: Frank J. Lausche. For Congress the candidates were Republican: Herschel Hunt, and Democratic: Michael J. Kirwan.
Voting day was Tuesday, November 7th. Two days later, Unit 5 of our WSCS Philathea Class met for a business meeting and also made plans for a Christmas Party to be held on December 14th at the home of Mrs. Wilbur Price.
The November 10th issue of the Girard News Headline read “Election Results – Democratic Sweep Country-wide, County-wide and State-wide”. But you probably knew that. The same issue goes on to note that the Girard boy who was reported “missing in action” back in September, is now assumed to be a “prisoner of war” as the entire crew of his damaged plane had parachuted to the ground in Germany before it crashed. In that same issue, a large ad for War Bonds listed all the places of business in Girard where one could purchase a bond. I had assumed that you had to go to your local bank to buy them. Boy, was I wrong! There were 25 businesses in Girard where you could purchase a bond. The list included all of the Girard Banks and Insurance Companies, and Service groups such as the American Legion and the VFW Post, but also the Meat Market, The Bakery. The Jewelry Store, the Drugstore, The Diner, even the Lumber Company and the Flower Shop! It is hard for us to understand just how much the War influenced every person’s thoughts, words and actions 75 years ago.
The Friday, November 17th issue of The Girard News contained the following Headline: “Sixth War Loan Drive Starts Monday”. It seems like I just reported a couple months ago how they had raised a surplus for the last Bond Drive. A year or so ago, they raised enough money for the purchase of a bomber – “The City of Girard”. The high school kids had raised enough money to purchase a fighter plane. Now, Girard and the entire country faced the duty of contributing to another bond drive, with the hope that this awful war could be finished successfully, and our young men and women could come home and continue living their lives. But, not yet. This issue told of another Girard boy killed in action – this time in Italy. This issue also had another large full page ad for the War Bond effort. “Buy an extra $100 Bond,” said the ad. Here were listing twenty more places where you could buy them. This listed restaurants and places where you could buy alcohol such as The American Bar, The Blue Crystal Nite Club, and The Wonder Bar.
Thanksgiving would fall on the 23rd in 1944. It would be a quiet family celebration with too many tables having empty chairs representing members of the army, navy, air forces, marines and coast guard. There would also be a community wide Union Service held on Saturday at the Christian Church at 10 AM. Before our church family could attend that Union Service Saturday morning, they would have learned in the Friday 24th edition of The Girard News that one more Girard boy had been killed in the South Pacific.
November of 1944 – 75 years ago in our church, our town and our country
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