Dec. 7th marks the 82nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which plunged this nation into World War II.
This week’s “Scrapbook” feature on pages 4-6 of the print and online editions takes another look at that “Day of Infamy” and the impact on our community and nation.
When I became editor and publisher of this newspaper in 1969, it had been less than 30 years since that attack took place.
There were a lot of vivid memories in our community back then, from residents who were there at Pearl Harbor and lived to tell about it, and Decatur area residents who remembered what they were doing that day when they heard the news of the attack.
I was able to sit down with Pearl Harbor survivors and local residents impacted by the attack and their memories were still very fresh.
About all of those I interviewed, including all of the area survivors of the attack, have passed on and newer generations have no first-hand memories of that horrible day in American history.
That’s the reason I try to focus attention on the attack on Pearl Harbor each year on the anniversary of the attack and the aftermath.
My uncles served in the Armed Forces in the World War that followed — as did so many family members of area residents.
Pearl Harbor altered history and we should never forget what happened there and those we lost.
• REMEMBRANCE — The Macon County Honor Guard & Veteran’s Assistance Commission of Macon County will hold a Pearl Harbor Remembrance 2023 on Thursday, December 7, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.
The guest speaker will be Kimberly Yantis, Central Region Supervisor, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
The ceremony will be held at The Beach House, 2301 E. Lake Shore Drive in Decatur.
It was my honor to be a speaker at one of the ceremonies when I was mayor and the “remembrance” has always been impressive and an effective somber reminder of what was sacrificed on Dec. 7, 1941.
• OOPS! — My “Viewpoint” column in this week’s print and online editions is about interviewing Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton when they appeared together at Millikin’s Griswold Center a half century ago.
Back then, Wagoner was the big Country Music star and Parton was his “girl singer”.
Over the years I’ve had one-on-one interviews with a lot of nationally-known entertainers and politicians — often by being in the right place at the right time.
One interview of a political figure that I had the opportunity to do in the mid-1970s, and didn’t, because I chose another interview that had to be done at the same time, still causes me regret to this day.
A friend with strong political connections called me and said that this presidental candidate was going to be in the area and I could have an interview with him.
While I appreciated the connection, I frankly thought (without telling my friend) that this candidate didn’t have a chance of being the next President of the United States, and refused the offer.
Plus, I had another interview that would have been at the same time — and I chose the other interview.
The name of the presidential candidate that I didn’t interview?
Jimmy Carter who won the presidency and served from 1977-1981.
I learned through that experience not to discount anyone in their candidacy for any office.
The recent passing of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter reminded me of how I came to regard former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter as two extremely good and caring people who spent their lives being too busy doing good work for others, to have time to publicize the good they did for attention.
• HI-FLIER — Following last week’s “Scrapbook’ on Hi-Flier kites by Dennis Jewell, I received the following email from Dave Pritts: “I continue to enjoy your great newspaper. I just finished the interesting article on Hi-Flier kites. As a young boy growing up in the area we flew them regularly.
“In 1963 my parents and I flew with a bush pilot to Fort Yukon, Alaska, an Athabascan village of under 500 people just north of the Arctic Circle. We entered the log cabin that served as a general store and hanging on display around the tops of the walls were Hi-Flier kites. Talk about distribution!”
• THOUGHT for today: “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.”
— Vernon Sanders Law
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider.
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