Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Bovina Center, My Home Town" - Part XIV

This is the eleventh and final of a series of entries from the script used on April 21, 1955, when citizens of Bovina presented a pageant of the town's history - "Bovina Center, My Home Town."  Though I'm not 100% sure, it appears the script was written by Vera Storie and her brother Fletcher Davidson.  The items in brackets refer to the tableau of local citizens acting out parts of the story.  [Sections I and II are in the May 21, 2011 blog entry, sections III and IV are in the June 21 blog entry, section V is in the July 21 entry, section VI is in the August 21 entry, section VII is in the September 21 entry, section VIII is in the October 21 entry, sections IX and X are in the November 21 entry, section XI is in the December 21 entry, section XII is in the January 21, 2012 entry and section XIII is in the February 21 entry.]  

XIV.  War

Since the first settlers came to the town of Bovina, our country has several times been plunged into a war; and each time our townsmen and women have courageously accepted their duties.

However, all that the Bovina settlers kenw about the Revolutionary War was what they learned either from service before coming to Bovina or from hearsay from some of the settlers who had served their country before coming to Bovina.  But the Civil War!  That was real enough to them.  They followed their boys the day the first ones went away – their husbands, their sons, their sweethearts with flags floating and songs and banners gay to honor them.  All that was in the early days of the war when neither they nor the boys who left could know the sufferings of that war – the nights of waiting in camps – the hunger – the cold – the homesickness – the destruction – and death.  [*23 – Civil War Soldier and Song – Tenting Tonight]  That war, they thought, was to be the last great war.  They prayed for peace and good will toward men – and peace they thought was theirs until a great war - the First World War came upon them.

This war was a different kind of war than those they had known.  Not all the soldiers lay in trenches, and more than soldiers’ uniforms now fill the corners of their chests of memories.  Yes, the joy of service touched the hearts of old and young; and all fingers bent themselves to unaccustomed tasks.  And at last in 1919 when victory came, what joy!  Yet amid the joy there was a pang, for not all of those who bravely set their faces East returned home.  For some, there were the distant poppy-reddened Flanders Fields.  But once again peace settled down upon a tired world, and this time it seemed real, and hopes were bright that it would be a lasting peace.

Then in September, 1939, the world once more heard the heavy tramp of marching feet in Europe, the roar of heavy guns, the frantic whine of diving airplanes, and the fateful crash of bombs striking their targets.  World War II was, in truth, upon them; and on December 7, 1941, the blow fell – Japanese bombers without warning attacked the great American base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  On December 8th President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war against Japan, and on December 11th the United States declared war against Germany and Italy.  The Americans once again bent all their efforts towards victory.  Boys and girls, men and women – all gave their time and money towards winning a victory.  The citizens became airplane spotters, shipyard laborers, airplane factory workers, blood donors, farm laborers, scrap metal and paper and rubber collectors.  To release men for actual fighting, young women were recruited in the WACS, WAVES, WAFS, and SPARS.

Finally on October 14, 1945 the United States was again at peace with the world, as World War II, the costliest and most destructive war in history, to an end.  But the post war years have been disappointing.  Even so, they have presented a challenge to all Americans, young and old, to hold high hope of democracy before the peoples of the earth.  Would that the lessons learned upon those battlefields might be eternal, that every passing day might see our understanding and sympathy increase for stranger folk, and our love of country and of our fellowmen grow stronger and deeper.  We could pay no greater tribute than this to all the soldier boys who gave their services in these three destructive wars, approximately 71 of whom were from Bovina in the Civil War, [blank] in the First World War, and [blank] in the Second World War. 

NOTE:  The typed portion of this script ends here.  There are some handwritten notes that help describe how this history pageant ended:
Taps – to gather
Liberty enters
2nd World War people enter from back, let one carry the flag
Taps sound
[illegible] reads scroll of dead
All sing “God Bless America”

1 comment:

  1. Jeanne Raitt FlyeMarch 24, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    I've enjoyed reading each of these entries - thanks for posting