From Crazy Horse to Wall Drug: Visiting Home

By Danielle Prostrollo

This autumn I am taking a few weeks off from writing, reading, and studying to be with family and introduce my other half, Dan, to the beauty of South Dakota. Having grown up there its easy to go back and entertain myself – its home. But this will be Dan’s first trip to America, so I feel the pressure to make sure he gets to experience everything.

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So I’m going to do what no born-and-bred South Dakotan has ever done (I’m guessing?)… consult a tourist guidebook. The library has an heroic collection of travel guides for all corners of the United States so I was lucky enough to find two different books to use: Mount Rushmore & The Black Hills by Laural A. Bidwell (a Moon guide) and Off the Beaten Path: The Dakotas by Lisa Meyers McClintick.

The obvious ‘Must-See’ attractions are there – Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, and the Badlands. Those aren’t in question, we’ll certainly put those on the list. Other options that would normally be a given include Hill City/Keystone salt water taffy but sadly we’ll have missed out on taffy season.

From the guidebooks I realised I had forgotten about the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and Launch Center Delta-01 – a site we will definitely visit, weather permitting. The old Cold War missile silo and launch center are something a little bit different in a state that is best known for its Wild West history.

While reading I stumbled into the history of Mount Rushmore, something we all learn as kids but hadn’t thought about in a long time and resonated much more now that I have been living abroad for a few years. Specifically, what I found interesting is that Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum was friends with famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin and had exhibited for Queen Victoria before returning to America and taking on large scale projects such as the Stone Mountain project (which his temper eventually saw him relieved from) and Mount Rushmore.

And in a bit of reminiscence, the entry on the Black Hills Institute brightened my day. The Institute was a stalwart of my childhood summers. Sue the T. rex was my favorite. I was of the perfect age to be devastated when she left the Black Hills for good but on this visit I hope to see Stan, the most complete T. rex, to date.

There’s so much to see, hopefully we can tick off as many as possible.

There’s:

Wall Drug – the greatest emporium/roadside attraction around

Alpine Inn in Hill City – ultimate restaurant for the indecisive (you get a steak, either a big one or a smaller one)

A beer in Deadwood – toast one to ol’ Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane (for more info on Wild Bill in South Dakota, we have some great books on the man in the library)

Mount Moriah – a similar but more solemn remembrance of Bill and Jane at their resting place

Nick’s Hamburgers – on the other side of the state these famous burgers are tiny but delicious

Corn Palace – who wouldn’t love a building covered in corn murals?

Falls Park – the namesake of Sioux Falls, the Falls are a great attraction for anyone who enjoys a walk in the park

Al’s Oasis – to get between East and West River you have to stop at Al’s Oasis to recover and recuperate in their cafeteria.

And the list goes on. Undoubtedly, this trip will spark a ton of lists for future visits as the Black Hills and the Great Plains offer such beautiful landscapes and rich culture.

 

 

 

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In The Library: Bomb Group Newsletters

by Don Allen

 

We here at the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library are in part tasked with helping to memorialize the brave men and women who served in the American armed forces here in Norfolk during World War II. One of the ways in which we do this is to subscribe to as many Bomb Group Newsletters as possible. Over the years, unfortunately but not surprisingly, many of these Newsletters have ceased publication. However, we do still have a selection of Newsletters that continue to be published, and we have many backcopies of older Newsletters as well. A full list of our current Newsletter availability will be provided at the bottom of this article.

I enjoy reading these Newsletters as to me they are a continuing link to the events of World War II and to Norfolk specifically. In them you can find articles on recent visits by veterans to their old bases, for example Jack Weyler’s return to Rackheath in the 467th BG Newsletter POOP From Group (which, by the way, is a GREAT name); information about upcoming events, for example the 2017 reunion for the 93rd BG in New Orleans in Sept/October of this year in Ball of Fire Quarterly Express; and memorials for those who have recently passed, such as Jim Goar in the 392nd Bomb Group Memorial Association News. I encourage anyone with an interest in World War II and Norfolk to come in and take a look at these Newsletters. Below are a few pictures of the covers of current Newsletters we have.

 

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Ball of Fire Quarterly Express 93rd Bomb Group

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392 Bomb Group Memorial Association News

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Beachbell Echo 446th Bomb Group

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POOP from Group 467th Bomb Group

Bomb Group Newsletters kept at the Enguiry Desk:

Ball of Fire Quarterly Express (93rd BG) 

392 Bomb Group Memorial Assocation News

Beachbell Echo (446th BG)

Station 146 Tower Association, Seething Airfield (448th BG)

Attlebridge Notes (466th BG)

POOP from Group (467th BG)

FOTE (Friends of the Eighth) News

Heritage Herald

Bomb Group/Aviation Periodicals on display in the library:

8th Air Force News

Ex-POW Journal

Friends Journal

 

No longer/sporadically produced, but back copies are available:

2nd Air Division Association Journal

2nd Air Division Headquarters Newsletter

8 Ball Tails (44th BG)

389th Bomb Group Newsletter

453rd Bomb Group Association Newsletter

489th Bomb Group Newsletter

491st Bomb Group Newsletter

492nd Bomb Group Newsletter

B-17 Flying Fortress Assocation “Splendor in the Skies”

Briefing

Bomber Legends

Duxford News

Juggernaut News

The Kassel Mission Chronicles Newsletter

Keystone Tail Winds

Mighty Eight Heritage

Mustang

3rd SAD Watton

Toretta Flyer

Wrecksearch

Yankee News

 

 

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“Peanuts”

by Don Allen

I love comic strips. Have since I was a kid. Opening up the Sunday newspaper and getting out the 4 page, colored comic section. My favorite of all time is Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson. Garfield, by Jim Davis, comes in a close second, and those were the two that I read the most growing up. I must own about 5 Calvin and Hobbes collections and about the same number for Garfield.

I didn’t read Peanuts, by Charles Schulz, much when I was a kid. It always seemed a bit old, a bit simple, so I never really looked at it. As the years have gone by however I looked at it more and more, and realized that it’s actually a really good strip with some very funny jokes. So when I ran across The Bumper Book of Peanuts here in the Library I decided to go through it.

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The Bumper Book of Peanuts

The book is very conveniently separated by topic, such as “Baseball”, “The Great Pumpkin”, “Thanksgiving” etc. My personal favorite is, given my love of sports, “Baseball”.  Somehow Charlie Brown is the manager of the team, and always makes himself the pitcher, even though he’s terrible. In one strip, he pitches the ball, which immediately gets hit right back to him so hard that he ends up losing his clothes. His friend/rival, Lucy, is then shown giving him back his clothes, telling him that “…and we found your cap over two blocks away, and one of your shoes three blocks away, and one of your socks two blocks away, and…” to which Charlie Brown yells “ALL RIGHT!” in exasperation. Made me laugh.

Reading these strips now I can appreciate what a genius Charles Schulz was, so I started researching the strip. He created a strip where there’s nary an adult in site, yet we have a Beethoven playing youth in Schroeder, an “ace-fighter pilot” dog and worldwide icon Snoopy, and a bevy of strong female characters such as Marcie, Lucy, and Peppermint Patty. In 1968, Schulz introduced Franklin, an African-American kid, into the strip. Tellingly, Schulz specifically made sure that Franklin was seen as going to the same school as the other (white) kids, which in 1968 was a very divisive subject. Schulz said that someone had once written him saying “I don’t mind you having a black character, but please don’t show them in school together.” Schulz didn’t respond.

While Schulz died in 2000, his work is incredible and continues to run in newspapers in re-runs. The Bumper Book of Peanuts is a lot of fun to read, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read a piece of American comic-strip history. It’s available here.

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The American Flag- “Old Glory” and other interesting facts

by Don Allen

Being an American, the American flag’s story has been almost a birthright, taught since I was very young in school. Betsy Ross sewing the first flag for George Washington. 13 red and white alternating stripes (7 red, 6 white) symbolizing the original 13 colonies, two of which, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, I call home. 50 five-pointed stars representing the 50 states with a new star added everytime a state joined the Union to the blue canton (or rectangle in the upper left area of the flag). Every day in class reciting the Pledge of Allegiance while looking at the flag, hand over heart.

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Current flag: 50 stars, created in 1960 after the addition of Hawaii as a state, with 13 stripes (7 red, 6 white)

 

But as is often the case the “story” of something can deviate from the historical facts. The Betsy Ross story of meeting George Washington and helping him design, and then sewing, the first flag, with the stars in a circle? All but certainly a myth created much later. Most historians name Francis Hopkinson, also a signer of the Declaration of Independence, as designing the first flag, with the 6-pointed stars in rows, rather than the 5-pointed stars of the “Betsy Ross” flag that are still used today.

 

The flag that inspired the national anthem of America, “The Star-Spangled Banner”? 15 stars with 15 stripes (8 red, 7 white) to represent the two states of Vermont and Kentucky which had been admitted into the Union in 1795. The 15/15 flag would remain until 1818, by which point there were 20 states. Congress, after nearly two years of debating the issue (begun in 1816), finally passed the Flag Act of 1818, signed into law by President James Monroe, which permanently set the stripes at 13 (7 red, 6 white) to honor the 13 original states, and mandated that on the July 4th following the official admission of a new state, a new star would be added. So for example even though Hawaii became a state in August of 1959, its star wasn’t officially added until July 4th, 1960.

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The “Star-Spangled Banner”, note the 15 stripes (8 red, 7 white) representing Vermont and Kentucky

 

And very recently I realized that I didn’t know the story behind the nickname “Old Glory”. Where had it come from? Who had named it that and when? Working in a library dedicated to America, I did the most sensible thing and looked for a book. And I found a couple of good ones on the history of the flag right here in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library. The first one is a fascinating pictorial history called Long May She Wave: A Graphic History of the American Flag by Kit Hinrichs and Delphine Hirasuna with photography by Terry Heffernan (available here).

long may she wave

 

The great thing about this book is that it isn’t just a history of the actual flag, although it does give that, but it also has different representations of the flag as well. For example, in the chapter “The Flag In Celebration” it has a fanstastic picture, taken in 1917 at the United States Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, Illinois, of 10,000 cadets forming a “living” flag. It’s a black-and-white picture, but it is still absolutely amazing.

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10,000 cadets forming a “living” flag at the United States Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, Illinois, circa 1917

 

One of the best sections of the book, in my opinion, is the chapter “The Flag in Politics and Protest” which has representations of the flag that are not always American positive. One such example is this strikingly powerful “Indian Power” image created in 1975, which according to the caption,

“Designer and Graphis magazine publisher B. Martin Pedersen boldly illustrates the diminishing power of the American Indian over the centuries in this limited edition print”.

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I didn’t find any information on where the name “Old Glory” came from in that book, so I kept looking and found Flag: An American Biography by Marc Leepson (available here).

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This book is fascinating. The first chapter gives a brief history of flags, along with the story, throughout North American history, beginning with a brief blurb about the standards that the Vikings may have brought with them when they reached Newfoundland in the 10th and 11th centuries. It goes through the British and French flags during the colonial era, and the famous “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. Chapter Two begins with the “Continental Colors” (aka “Grand Union Flag”), used from late 1775 until 1777 and then it’s off to the races, tracing the evolving history of the American flag.

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The “Continental Colors”/”Grand Union Flag”, the first national flag of the fledgling United States. Notice the “Union Flag” canton. It doesn’t contain the Irish red saltire (x-shaped cross), as Ireland wouldn’t join with Britain for another 26 years.

I finally found where the term “Old Glory” came from on pages 116-118. Whaling captain William Driver, from Salem, Massachusetts, was given a 24-star flag sown by his mother for his 21st birthday, the same year he became captain of his own ship, the Charles Dogget, in 1824. According to Leepson, Driver was moved to call it “Old Glory” the first time he hoisted it on his ship. He retired from whaling in 1837 and moved to Nashville, Tennessee after the death of his first wife. He would fly it three times every year (it was too large to fly regularly, being a massive 10 feet x 17 feet): George Washington’s Birthday (February 22nd); St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th, which was also his birthday); and the 4th of July. In 1860, his wife and daughters removed the old stars, sewing on 34 new ones to bring it up to date. Driver himself sewed on a small white anchor in the lower right corner of the blue canton.

Fast forward a year and America is embroiled in the Civil War. Driver, although living in the south in a Confederate state, was a staunch Unionist, and refused at least twice to hand over the flag to Confederate soldiers, eventually hiding it inside a quilt. When Union forces occupied Nashville in 1862, Driver, according to Leepson,

“celebrated that event by liberating Old Glory from inside the quilt, taking it with an escort of troops from the Sixth Ohio Regiment to the Tennessee State Capitol building and hoisting it from the Capitol’s dome…[this] event also popularized the name ‘Old Glory’ as a nickname for the American Flag”.

Driver gave the flag to his daughter, Mary, in 1873 (he died in 1886) who held onto it until 1922, when she donated the flag to President Warren G. Harding, who gave it to the Smithsonian where it still resides.

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Original “Old Glory” owned by Driver. Notice the white anchor in the lower right corner of the blue canton. Image courtesy of the National Museum of American History

 

 

Do you know any other interesting facts about “Old Glory”? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

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