By Jan Redmond
World War II is a terrible and fascinating subject. Over 50 million people were killed in this "necessary war". Perhaps you saw all, or part of, Ken Burns' seven night, fifteen hour tribute to what many have called "The Greatest Generation". It was a moving anthology of the sacrifices made by every city and small town, like Blanco, in America. This was a war that affected the entire country in every way; from tin collection drives, rationing, victory gardens, music, movies and giving up stockings due to the urgent demand for nylon to make parachutes.
Over sixty decades later, there still remain courageous men and women whose stories recall "the war to end all wars". In 2004, the World War II Memorial, which honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the United States, was opened in Washington, D.C.
The library has numerous books and videos on World War II; fiction and non-fiction. Of particular interest is a recent addition to our collection, "A Tour of Duty 1942 to 1945, written by Mark J. Brannon Jr., brother of Kathleen Inglish. Mr. Brannon and his wife live in Fort Worth and he wrote the book to honor and preserve this part of his family's history. On January 9, 1942, he reported to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland to begin the V-Seven Engineering Officers Training Program. His ship, the U.S. Hutchins, was home to 300 men, all of whom had their own stories to tell. Lt. Brannon was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for heroic and meritorious conduct aboard his destroyer in action with the 7th Fleet during the second battle of the Phillipine Seas. He was one of four brothers in the Navy.
The library archives house a special scrapbook donated by Duane Babcock who, with his wife Kathleen, served the library as loyal volunteers for many years. This scrapbook contains photographs, taken by Mr. Babcock, of all the newspaper headlines during the war years. Please ask a librarian if you would like to look at this unique snapshot of history.
Mr. Roy Byars willed many of his papers and books to the library, among which are books and photographs of his wartime experiences. He was interviewed for a Blanco County News article two years ago at the time of the Anne Frank exhibit sponsored by the Blanco Library.
All of the new and old citizens of Blanco, who lived through the years of World War II, have stories to tell of life during these years. Those stories paint a picture of a part of our community and national history for future generations. The library would appreciate those stories of your experiences and memories, whether as a member of the armed forces or as a citizen. Please bring them to the library and we will combine them into a booklet as part of our historical collection. The Blanco County News will publish some of them, with permission, in a Fourth of July edition.
If you can sing along with this song-you have a story to tell:
I'll Be Seeing You
By Sammy Fain
and Irving Kahol
I'll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through
In that small cafe
The park across the way
The children's carrousel
The chestnut trees
The wishing well
I'll be seeing you
In every lovely summer's day
In everything that's light and gay
I'll always think of you that way
I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you
We'll be seeing you... at the library.