Faron Wahl, Manager.
As I noted in an earlier column this spring, our country is recognizing several anniversaries of major events during the summer of 2019. These pivotal waypoints in U.S. history tie into our mission here, so they are mention worthy in this space, to say the least. And this week, we solemnly mark 75 years since the D-Day assault during World War II.
This Thursday, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia will host what’s being billed as “The Final Salute”, an event expected to serve as the last large gathering of D-Day veterans from around the globe. Considering the youngest of these vets are now in their 90’s, this somber estimation is doubtlessly correct. Having visited the site personally, I deeply wish I could return this week.
What does commemorating D-Day really have to do with Prairie Village? Much, actually…. starting with the fundamental point that our lives today, and those of the folks who ran our Main Street businesses, are and were predicated on freedoms sustained by the turning of that war. The eventual shift in momentum is largely credited to the unthinkable bravery exhibited by U.S. and other Allied forces assigned to invade sectors of a distant French beach – including a highly-fortified sector code-named Omaha. We would do well to not forget this.
As I was inside our historic barbershop last weekend, I was struck by the match-up of this small business’ heyday years with the invasion at Normandy. They synch perfectly. Barber Harold Bitzer was precisely midway through his successful half-century of running this quaint little barbershop in Tolstoy, SD when our troops so bravely carried out their perilous advance.
You can bet those two barber chairs witnessed many conversations – and emotions – regarding the news of what was happening overseas. Perhaps a customer’s son was on the mission, or even a loved one of Mr. Bitzer himself. No doubt young folks from that area of our state were on the frontlines, and the local barbershop would certainly have been a community setting for the sharing of pride, fear, hope, worry, and a plethora of other sentiments.
Seriously, it defies one’s imagination, in a most humbling sort of way, to stand there in the doorway of Tolstoy’s social hot spot and contemplate what must have been shared in that little room. And odds are, customers in the weeks and months after June 6 would have included ones who lost their dear sons to this key, consequential assault that literally turned the war in the direction of freedom from escalating tyranny.
I regard the indescribable bravery exhibited by thousands of our young troops on June 6, 1944 among the most honor-worthy events in history. It would be good for each of us this week to ponder their brave-beyond-description actions in the face of certain death for scores of them. How good we have it, and how much we owe tribute and respect for their valiant actions.
In whatever way works for you, please take a few minutes to absorb a little of what D-Day meant and means. I will certainly find myself back at our historic barbershop this week, quietly spending another few moments straining to hear the conversations from people who were getting a haircut back when those world events were unfolding and impacting them directly – in current time.
On a lighter note, the Northern Bull Riding Tour is back this Friday night, June 7. Tickets will be available at the gate, or your season pass is good for free admittance. The weather is looking good, and we hope you’ll come out and unwind during this fun evening of entertainment. The calcutta will get underway at 6:30, with bull ride chutes kicking open at 7:00. Please join us!