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JIM: Remembering Pearl Harbor, one year later, in Columbia, KY

Hard times, economically, were ending, and Christmas decorations were found on the Square in December 1941, but the memory of events in Hawaii almost one year later preempted thoughts in the Christmas message of the Dr. Pepper Bottling Co., which ran instead, an eloquent reminder of why America had to be in a war it had not wanted. (Story previously posted on CM on 2011-12-07 16:28:10 reposted today, Pearl Harbor Day Remembered as Adair Countians salute the Grand Marshals of the 2014 Christmas in Columbia Parade and the Grand Marshals - Veterans of WWII.)


By the fall of 1941, the worst of the Great Depression was over, at least a few people had discretionary money, and late November found Columbia in the midst of Christmas preparations. Thanks in main to the efforts of County Attorney O.A. Durham and Lerman's manager Ben Green, by the Thanksgiving or thereabout, merchants around the Square had donated over seventy dollars for decorations, and the News proclaimed that "more elaborate decorations than in past years are planned," to-wit:

Huge cedars decorated with garlands of colored lights and other ornaments will be placed in the Court House yard facing Campbellsville and Burkesville Streets and small evergreens decorated in a similar manner will be placed on the building's balconies.

The December 3rd, 1941 edition of the News carried a cornucopia of ads for Christmas goodies, and a front page article encouraged readers to spend their holiday dollars in Columbia. After all, "Never have finer or prettier stocks of goods been shown here...[W]e feel certain they will be as complete as any other city or town in this section of Kentucky."

Then came the horror of December 7th. Before sunset on Monday, December 8th, the United Stated had declared war on Japan; Japan's ally Germany had declared war on the U.S. and her allies; and the world found itself facing a dark and uncertain future. Not until 1945 did festive lights again adorn the Square, and yet another year elapsed before the Christmas spirit returned in a measure comparable to that of 1941.

In commemoration of the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Columbia ran the following in the December 2nd, 1942 edition of the News in lieu of their annual Christmas advertisement. (This is transcribed verbatim, including the ellipses. The first half of the first sentence should be familiar to students of American history.)

Let us consecrate our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to avenging the crimes of dictators and to reclaiming this world for humanity and peace.

America did not seek this war. To avoid war we condoned arrogance; excused insult; suffered humiliation. We cherished an ideal and prayed for peace. We trusted, and were treacherously betrayed.

Outraged beyond human endurance by the treachery at Pearl Harbor, America's reaction was righteous wrath. The price we paid for disillusionment was overwhelming, but it brought unity and the re-birth of the American ideal.

A new America emerged; militant, self-sacrificing, fired with a single purpose. . .the cold determination to rid the world of cruel, wicked, selfish dictators.

And so let us commemorate the date. Let January First be observed as the beginning of a New Year; December Seventh as the beginning of a New World. . .America's new date for resolutions.

Therefore, let it be resolved: That we, the people of America, consecrate our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to:

Avenging the crimes of dictators. . .to reclaiming this world for humanity, so that we, our children, and their posterity may live without fear, follow the nobler pursuits of peace, and promote the true brotherhood of man.

Compiled by JIM

This story was posted on 2014-12-07 10:08:05
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