20th Century, Civics, education, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

It’s Your G.I. Bill of Rights June 22, 1944

colmery

Harry Colmery, Drafter of Servicemen’s Readjustment Act**

1944-1956
To help World War II veterans make a smooth transition back to civilian life, the U.S. government provided them with low-interest loans to put toward education, business startups, and housing expenses. The program, known as the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, or more commonly, the “G.I. Bill of Rights,” also contained the 52-20 provision, which paid veterans $20 per week for up to 52 weeks while seeking employment.

According to the Veterans Administration (VA), a total of 7.8 million World War II vets took advantage of the G.I. Bill to get an education, and nearly 2.4 million benefited from VA-backed home loans. Less than 20 percent of the United States’ 16 million eligible veterans participated in the 52-20 program.*

“Never again do we want to see the honor and glory of our nation fade to the extent that her men of arms, with despondent heart and palsied limb, totter from door to door, bowing their souls to the frozen bosom of reluctant charity.”
American Legion Past National Commander Harry Colmery, after helping draft the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act in the winter of 1943-1944**

As the author of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, Colmery acted as the national catalyst to offer opportunity to the 15 million men and women returning from duty. R.B. Pitkin, editor of “The American Legion Magazine”, became a key figure in consolidating grassroots proposals, summarizes them into the following objectives.
Educational opportunity
Vocational on-the-job training
Readjustment allowances
Home, farm and business loans
Review of discharges
Adequate health care
Prompt settlement of disability claims
Mustering-out pay (removed from the bill after it was enacted separately)
Effective veteran employment services
Concentration of all veterans functions in the Veterans Administration ***

How did this look in the North Star state? Soon after the end of the war, nearly half the students in Minnesota colleges and universities are World War II veterans studying under the benefits of the G.I. Bill.**
For example, 25,000 vets enrolled at the University of Minnesota in this period; the most of anywhere in the nation. Local private college attendance also ballooned with returning vets; Bethel University had to expand from a two-year program to a four-year program to meet the demand.****

Yet, one wonders, how did this program impact the lives of its participants? Below are a few quotes from interviews with WWII veterans, conducted by writer Kevyn Burger.****
“Without the GI Bill, I never would have gone to college and I would have lived with disappointment… I had a hunger for learning I had to satisfy.”
Jeanne Bearmon, Women’s Army Corps.
“The GI Bill was fantastic, I got $75 a month to live on. That was plenty, more than enough. I had a nice room a few blocks from campus for $7 a week.”
Sherman Garon, US Army

Lord, there is something so beautiful about debts repaid, it’s almost indescribable! We commend these returning vets of WWII before You. We are doubly-honored as we think of them; they showed total commitment to freedom and freedom’s G-d, and our society echoed back its gratitude! What seems so exceptional about them is that they never seemed to expect payback from America?!

Of course, this is a generalization, but the circumstantial evidence and their testimonies prove it true over and over again. It reminds me of Your Holy Word.
“And that’s how it should be with you. When you’ve done all you should, then say, “We are merely servants, and we have simply done our duty.” Luke 17:10 CEV
What a joy it must have been to give this small token, the GI Bill, to those so humble and who so thoroughly utilized it?

We also specifically commend Colmery and Pitkin to You. We thank you for their gifts of vision and its administration. Will You bless our state and nation with similar leadership and administration? We perpetually need both dreamers and the activators of dreams; Will You give us the grace to do our role?

In contrast, we confess the limitations of administering the GI Bill in the present: it seems so bureaucratic, it feels un-relational, and the benefits seem far smaller than the costs of administering them. Our society wants to give to vets, it puts money in the offering plate, but somehow only $1 out of $7 seems to reach the hand that needs it. Will You help us with this problem? Will You stop our bickering over the amount we should give, and let us draw a straighter line between giver and receiver?

In the same way, we note the increase in the costs of education and student housing. Returning vets now routinely pay seventy to a hundred times the costs these servicemen and women paid for tuition and student housing?! Too many of these young men and women start their lives saddled with debt, yet they have taken the same risks as their forbearers; doing their duty up to the cost of their lives!

Presently, it feels as though we have lost our empathy for them. We are an heinously distracted people, continuously diverted from paying attention to real people and real relationships. Will You kindly reveal our GI Bill of wrongs, and the heart attitudes that foist scorn on the selfless service of others? Have mercy Lord, we don’t fully understand the depths of their sacrifice, nor of Yours!

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4 BSB*****

Minnesota Department of the American Legion. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN. 1944. http://www.mnhs.org/mgg/artifact/gibill_rights
** https://www.legion.org/education/history
*** Pitkin, R.B. “The American Legion Magazine”. Jan.-Mar. 1969 ibid.
**** Burger, Kevyn, “GI Bill gave Minnesota veterans a path to the middle class”. StarTribune, Minneapolis, MN. 11-11-2014 Variety Section. (Kevyn Burger is a freelance writer and a newscaster at BringMeTheNews.com.)
***** https://www.biblehub.com/romans/14-4.htm

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20th Century, Environment, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, Weather

Tornado Kills 11 in Mankato

M.17.F.3.A Packet 113

August 15, 1946
A tornado kills eleven and injures sixty individuals in Mankato and North Mankato, and a second tornado injures 200 people in Wells an hour later.*

A little know fact about the United States is its distinction of the greatest volume of tornadoes on the planet, and also the most severe. June and August, historically, are the worst months for the Midwest and Southern Canada. During this season, the animus for these storms are humid warm fronts from the Gulf of Mexico mingling with colder and drier ones from the Rockies. Minnesota is situated on the northern edge of this region infamously known as Tornado Alley. ***

The twister that struck Mankato, North Mankato, and Wells on this day apparently only lasted for a “couple minutes”. Most trees were leveled, and those left standing were stripped bare like telephone poles. Cars parked in the town were blown roughly 50 yards into the ravine of the railway. Even a 27 ton grader blew into this gorge, and the whole tangled mess stopped rail traffic. ****

An anomaly of any tornadic system is the randomness of its damage, and this storm in 1946 was no different. For example, a prominent structure downtown, the Oran building, was totaled, but those attending a birthday party there, remarkably, all escaped injury. Conversely, the Melvin family turkey farm lost 4,000 birds. The body of a Mr. Wirig of Mankato was found over a half mile from where the storm hit his resort cabin. ****

According to the testimony of first responder Donald Wold, he hadn’t seen “anything like this since I fought the Germans in France”, and “people were lying everywhere”. Scrambling to accommodate the injured, a bread truck driver used its racks to haul 7 people to the hospital in Mankato. Two alert utility workmen shut the power grid down, and were later credited with saving many structures from electrical fires.*****

Those involved in the clean-up demonstrated resolve and resourcefulness typical of Minnesotan’s. Area small towns sent anyone who could help out. Local farmers used their tractors to “push and pull” as needed. The cities of Faribault and Blue Earth sent their street departments and highway construction departments to clear debris and begin the rebuild.******

Lord, we thank You for the light and dark of this event. You are Master of our Environment. You ordain and use weather according to Your purposes and the survival of the planet. You are Master of the soothing summer breeze in Honiara, the Arabian sirocco, the Scottish snell, the icy gales of Everest, and this Midwestern tornado of Mankato. Will You give us insight, Dear One, we struggle to comprehend the good You intend?

Forgive the judgments made against You in the aftermath of this storm. Will You specifically release those from Mankato, North Mankato, and Wells whose responses may have offended You? Will You forgive those who may have clung to their pain unable to look up? We can’t see Your purpose when a human body is flown a half mile in the wind. We fail to grasp the utility of the uneven attack of this storm; why does one family lose its’ flocks while another cheats death?

This prayer moves us to ponder the cries of the qoheleth, most likely written by King Solomon who was reputed to be the wisest man who ever lived.
“Meaningless! Meaningless! says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What does a man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:2,3 NIV *******
Later, Solomon adds an insight into the relationship we have with our planet.
“Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.” Ecclesiastes 1:4 NIV *******
He described the limits of human understanding nine times in his book as a “chasing after the wind”.

At first glance, this may seem one of the most hopeless books ever written. It is even darker because of the amazing learning and success of Solomon. “If the man who has it all can’t be happy”, one wonders, “who can”?

Yet he leads us to a clue in his phrases. Everything under the sun is meaningless, and a chasing after the wind. But what exists above the sun? What is unlimited by the laws of nature and the universe, but its Creator?

So we invite You into this tragedy past. Bring Your meaning. Bring Your life. We did not yet understand You on August 15, 1946, nor do we grasp the depth of Your purpose now. Come and bless Minnesota with Your Presence; may we sense that which is beyond our senses, and accept that there is more than than right now. May we stop “chasing after the wind”, look up, and find Eternal Wisdom after the storm!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** “Aftermath of the August 17, 1946 tornado in Mankato, Minnesota.”
http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimage.php?irn=10291189&catirn=11126964
*** https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/summaries_and_publications/tornadoes.html
**** Beitler, Stu. “The Evening Tribune”. Albert Lea, Minnesota. 1946-08-19 pg1 http://www.gendisasters.com/minnesota/18697/mankato-wells-mn-tornado-aug-1946?page=0%2C3
***** Beitler, Stu. “The La Crosse Tribune” Wisconsin. 1946-08-18 pg1 http://www.gendisasters.com/minnesota/18697/mankato-wells-mn-tornado-aug-1946
****** Beitler, Stu. “The Evening Tribune”. Albert Lea, Minnesota. 1946-08-19 pg3 http://www.gendisasters.com/minnesota/18697/mankato-wells-mn-tornado-aug-1946?page=0%2C3
******* https://biblehub.com/ecclesiastes/1-2.htm

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20th Century, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

End of World War II

pf116045

V-J crowd celebrating in downtown Minneapolis, 1945**

May 8, 1945 to September 2, 1945
V-E Day (Victory in Europe) occurs on May 8, 1945, when the Germans sign the surrender outside Berlin. V-J Day (Victory over Japan) occurs on September 2, 1945, when the Japanese sign the surrender in Tokyo. The initial announcement of Japan’s surrender takes place on August 15, 1945 (August 14 in North America).

Records are sketchy, but somewhere, sometime during WWII, 326,000 Minnesotans served in uniform. One source lists 209,500 serving in the army and army air corps, 79,300 in the navy, 11,800 in the marines, and 3,500 in the coast guard. Of these, 5,843 died of combat wounds, 412 died in prison camps, and 54 were listed as missing.*

Victory Europe Day (VE Day) was a muted party for many because we were still at war with Japan. It must be difficult to cheer when your neighbor’s loved one(s) are still at sea, or storming the beach somewhere in the South Seas. Maybe the best way to describe the elation of this day, Victory Japan (VJ Day), is to just cite the Minneapolis Morning Tribune coverage of downtown at the exact time the news hit the streets the evening of August 14th. Enjoy!

“A few words from President Truman Tuesday night sent Minneapolis on an emotional “binge” in which all misery and waiting and expectation of four long years were suddenly changed in a few minutes into the joy of the war’s end.
The reaction to the President’s announcement came as tearful relief for some people on loop streets. For others it was wild yelling. For others the unexplainable, odd things that people do when they’re intensely happy.
At 6 p.m., Minneapolis streets were quiet. Then the announcement reached the streets in newspaper “extras”. On Fifth Street and Marquette Avenue, a half dozen women were talking-waiting. The news was brought to them by a Negro man about 50 years old, who came racing down the street aimlessly, tears streaming down his face, crying to everyone: “My God! My boys are coming home safe!”
Then the siren atop the Northwestern National bank building started to scream out the news-at 6:08p.m.-and the automobile horns took up the victorious chant, just a few at first because some drivers were afraid the news might be a false report.
Then the honking increased in intensity and wildness.” ***

M.17.D.3.B Packet 20

Up north, in Duluth, the response seems as intense, yet with a slightly different focus on total peace rather then total victory. Maybe this is a subtle splitting of hairs, but worth noting. How does one describe euphoria? Maybe this headline from the Duluth News- Tribune encapsulates it; “Duluth goes Wild with Joy at Peace”.

“Unrestrained joy, bordering almost on hysteria, gripped Duluth last night as thousands swarmed the downtown area to celebrate the return of peace.
Confetti, feathers, torn bits of newspaper and even popcorn rained down from the top floors of downtown office buildings when home-bound workers caught by the news watched the gathering mob.
But less than an hour after the first whistles blew, thousands of reverent Duluthians bowed their heads in their chosen places of worship.
Meanwhile, shouts and cheers mingled with tears of joy as a tumultuous throng shoved, elbowed, and embraced each other in a barely moving stream down Superior street.”****

G-d Most High, we remember with You these fantastic days of victory and peace in the lives of our state and nation. What do You remember when You think of it? What did we think of You in this moment of when You removed war from our peoples’ shoulders?

Granted, we had Allies against the forces of Axis nations, but even so, somehow You guided us to win a two-front war?!? Even though our soldiers and resources were split and traveling vast distances to the battles? Let’s recount, for a moment, why this is so astonishing.
2445 mi. Distance New York City to Los Angeles
3968 mi. Distance New York City to Berlin
6413 mi. Distance of travel to win Victory Europe

2445 mi. Distance New York City to Los Angeles
2486 mi. Distance Los Angeles to Hawaii
4028 mi. Distance Hawaii to Tokyo
8959 mi. Distance of travel to win Victory Japan

In toto, all our resources and human resources were spread across the earth a distance of 15,362 miles?!

Further, those at home were also doubly split: maintaining regular life, and supplying the food, war materiel for our Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Additionally, Americans supplied our Allied armies and their civilians’ needs with far less Americans in the work force?! How did You sustain them to do these monumental tasks and complete them in 1365 days; just three years, eight months, and twenty six days?!?

We recall, with You, the first incredible victory of the man and nation who was yet to become Your covenant partner(s); Abram. We remember that though he had only a force of 318 men, through You he routed four kingdoms?!? Next, he returned the slaves and plunder to its rightful owners, and took nothing for himself. Ultimately, he responded to victory in celebration, worship, and giving out of a heart of gratitude the share that other leaders would have usually kept for themselves.

“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,
‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And praise be to G-d Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.’
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” Genesis 14:18-20 NIV*****

In the culture of Abram, the lesser king pays tribute to the greater king; in words of acknowledgement, in deeds of service, and in treasure. So why did Abram give tribute to Mechizedek? Will You teach us from Your Unchanging Word, El Elyon, spoken through the author of Hebrews thousands of years later?
“…First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, ‘king of Salem’ means ‘king of peace,’” Hebrews 7:2b NIV******

But who is this King of Righteousness and Peace? We find the best clue in the words of
Psalmist which is talking about Jesus, the Coming Messiah.
“The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.’” Psalm 110:4 NIV*******
Author Chara Donahue gives us a theological reference about this, saying “The Matthew Henry Concise Commentary said this about the Psalm: “[Jesus] is the Priest of the order of Melchizedek, which was before that of Aaron, and on many accounts superior to it, and a more lively representation of Christ’s priesthood.”********

So we bring this back home to the summer of 1945 in Minnesota, Lord. Thank You for giving them this victory over the Enemy of all mankind! We are so proud and grateful for the way our generations’ past remembered You in their exceeding happiness! Help us absorb their tremendous gifts to the King of Justice and their future generations; many gave far more than a tenth of everything they owned! May we remain ever awed and humbled at their generosity!

Will You make us a people, like them, in Your Image? Will You give us such sacrificial love for: neighbor, state, nation, and Your world? Will You help us hear their lesson; peace is not just absence of war, but it’s in acknowledging, serving, and practicing the worthy presence of Jesus, the Eternal Messiah, of the Order of Melchizedek, the King of All that is Right, and the Lord of All Justice? Come Lord Jesus, Hope of the Nations, and make right the wrongs of our broken relationships with You and each other! Come Lord Jesus and be the Eternal Prince of Peace of Minnesota, and of every tribe and nation of the earth!

“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Isaiah 46:10 NIV

 

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** Photo credit
*** citing Author Unknown, “Minneapolis Goes Wild With VJ Joy”, Minneapolis Morning Tribune, Minneapolis, MN. Wednesday August 15, 1945. Pg. 1
http://www.mnhs.org/people/mngg/web_assets/images/mplsTribune19450815.pdf
**** citing Author Unknown, “Duluth Goes Wild with Joy at Peace”, Duluth News-Tribune, Duluth, MN. Wednesday August 15, 1945. pg.1http://www.mnhs.org/people/ mngg/web_assets/images/duluthNewsTribune19450815.pdf
***** https://biblehub.com/niv/genesis/14.htm
****** https://www.biblehub.com/hebrews/7-2.htm
******* https://biblehub.com/psalms/110-4.htm
******** https://www.ibelieve.com/faith/who-was-melchizedek-and-why-was-he-so-important.html
********* https://www.biblehub.com/isaiah/46-10.htm

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20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Politics, Uncategorized

Humphrey Elected Mayor

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1945
Hubert H. Humphrey is elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1945. For two terms he works hard to clean up city politics and extend civil rights. Minneapolis enacts the nation’s first fair-employment-practices law while he is in office.*

Minneapolis circa 1945 had its problems; many of them were already decades old. The Prohibition of alcohol through the 18th Amendment, in effect, became the graduate school for its street-level criminals, and seducer of many straight-appearing politicians from both major parties. For example, Kid Cann, a.k.a. Isadore Blumenfeld, went from pimping to becoming a godfather allied with Chicago and Genovese organized crime families. Kid Cann found his rivals in David Berman, “Big Ed” Morgan, and Deuce Casper. In the process, Minneapolis became a major center of bootlegged booze, gambling, brothels and unbridled corruption within its political class.**

Indirectly, one could argue that Socialists, Unionists, and Communists were tied to this process through their control over transportation and manufacturing. To demonstrate, the Teamster Trucking Strike of 1934 was the first time a sitting U.S. president, in this case, Franklin D. Roosevelt, openly took the side of a trade union in a labor dispute. His favorable view of Teamsters Local 574 and aggressive policing of union protests tipped the scales of public opinion away from the anti-unionist group Citizens Alliance and the business owners.**

Granted, being a trade union member did not necessarily make one corrupt. Yet, only a few strategically placed or bribed union leaders could, in effect, control the Port of Minneapolis and the lion’s share of traffic on the Mississippi. Highly organized unions lessened or eliminated competitors, and some of these competitors may or may not have succumbed to the influence of corruption from above through politicians, or from below through the mob.
Politically, the city hall of Minneapolis had been corrupted since 1900 irregardless which party was in power. Humphrey sought to resist the corrosive infiltration of Communists there, and even oust Communists from the DFL party during his tenure as mayor.** In 1947, he helped found the ideologically liberal, anti-communist Americans for Democratic Action. Perhaps his greatest accomplishments as mayor were in the sphere of on-the job civil rights. He started the Council on Human Relations prohibiting racial discrimination in the workplace, which seeded the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s.*****

Lord, now we move with You from eternity past into Your eternal present. Will you direct us to ponder and gain insights into this window of time? Will You guide our thoughts as to how this history has broken with You?

As the Living Word of G-d, we ask You, Jesus, to guide us into a study of Your thoughts on corruptions past before we deal with the corruptions of Humphrey’s day. In Your conversation with Jeremiah about the Temple You point, like always, to the root problem.
“They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me.”
And…
“You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me, declares the LORD.” ****** Jeremiah 9:3,6

Just as You were waiting for the people of Jerusalem to recognize You as their ultimate source, we have failed to acknowledge You in the Minneapolis of the 1940’s. Will You have mercy on this offense towards You? Where it applies, will You forgive our attempt to get life out of the lies of: organized crime, unionism, liberalism, socialism, communism, and the defilement of our legal system, police, and local government?

Some of us believed the mafia was a superior provider, protector, and keeper than You. We today acknowledge that the crimes of the dons of Minnesota: Kid Cann, Berman, Morgan, the Baldy Gang and other organized criminal operation were against You, and Your family; will You forgive? Will You restore the heritage of their victims, and bring restitution to the innocent? We gangsters believed loyalty was the highest virtue, but didn’t see our own betrayal of the persons, places and things of the Almighty! Let’s listen again to Your words spoken through the mouth of Hosea over 2700 years before our crimes.
“I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely.” ******* Hosea 14:4 NIV

Some of us believed that the deck was stacked against us as laborers, that we had no power, and that we needed the collective bargaining of the union to make things right. We today acknowledge these beliefs and misbeliefs as sins. Where we failed to call on the Shop Steward of the Universe, we will never know what resolutions You had in mind for us. Will You forgive us this slight to Your omnipotence?
“Be merciful to those who doubt.” ******** Jude 22 NIV

Some of us believed that we could be saved through the arms of our political “ism”, and failed to acknowledge You as “I AM”. We have verbally maligned our neighbor, for whom Christ died and rose again, and have no fear or are even consciously aware of this incredible insult to You. We have played our neighbor’s judge, over and over again, to the tune of “the ends justify the means.” We were both cognizant, and not cognizant of this affront to Your Justice. We have let our political enemy live in our heads, and our well-being and physical bodies have paid the price. I AM, will You forgive us these and other unnamed offenses to You in this era?

We give thanks for the efforts of Humphrey to end an age of destruction and corruption. He pointed to a higher ideal, and at least a partial recognition that our value is more than skin-deep. For this, we commend HHH and his physical and figurative children. Will You bless them to complete the work of civil rights by recognizing the G-d of Civil rights? Will You bless us to acknowledge You so that human rights won’t be as corruptible as human beings? Maranatha!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organized_crime_in_Minneapolis
*** https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/07/remembering-truckers-strike-1934/
**** Iric Nathanson (May 23, 2011). “‘Into the bright sunshine’ — Hubert Humphrey’s civil-rights agenda”. minnpost.com.
***** Delton, Jennifer A. (2002). Making Minnesota Liberal: Civil Rights And The Transformation Of The Democratic Party. 978-0816639229. p. 103.
****** https://biblehub.com/jeremiah/9-1.htm
******* https://biblehub.com/hosea/14-1.htm
******** https://biblehub.com/jude/1-22.htm

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20th Century, Civics, History, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, Politics

DFL Formed

DFLCommiePoster275

Apr 15, 1944
The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) is created on April 15, 1944, when the Minnesota Democratic Party and the Farmer-Labor Party merged. Hubert H. Humphrey is a driving force behind the merger of Democrats and Farmer-Laborites, but he turns down the new party’s nomination for governor.*

Going first to the source, the DFL website, we find that “Hubert H. Humphrey was instrumental in the merger and is considered by many to be the founder of the Minnesota DFL Party.”** Given the ubiquitous presence and success of the DFL in the current era, one can easily wonder: “What kind of rift existed between Democrats and the Farmer-Laborites back then? And “What was it about Humphrey’s leadership that helped to bridge this gap?” Below is a succinct history of the birth and early years of the DFL party in Minnesota as told by Minnpost author Iric Nathanson.***

“The 1944 merger was the result of a complex interaction of domestic and international political forces that created an unholy alliance between Robert Hannegan, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Earl Browder, the head of the U.S. Communist Party.

In 1944, World War II was still underway.  The Russians were allied with the United States in an effort to defeat the Nazis, and the Communist Party believed that its short-term interests were best served by aligning with the Democratic Party and supporting the Roosevelt administration’s war effort.  That position would soon change, but in 1944 it was the party line.  Browder directed his followers in Minnesota’s Farmer Labor Party to support the merger, and they did as they were told — albeit somewhat reluctantly.
Browder’s position also influenced left-leaning Farmer Laborites who were aligned with the Communists in a movement known as the Popular Front.

While Browder was supporting the merger for his own purposes, Hannegan was looking ahead to the 1944 presidential election. The DNC chairman feared the prospect of losing Minnesota to the Republicans if the forces on the left were split here, so the merger was very much in his party’s interests as well.”***

So, we see a marked distinction between the Democrats and Farmer- Laborites at the national level as to who would be their source of authority, Washington or the international Communist Party, but what were the crucial factors at the local level? One could argue that age played a role; former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale stated that Humphrey, himself, and the young Democrats were mocked as “the Diaper Brigade”.**** According to retired Metro State University professor Tom O’Connell, the counter-punch was that the FLP had “grown long in the tooth”, ie. too old.

O’Connell offers another brilliant opinion as to the basis of this divide; the FLP was a response to the Great Depression while the liberal Democrats around Humphrey were shaped by World War II.**** This observation rings true because of the incredible contrasts Minnesotans’ experienced during these two ages. Children of the 1920’s and 1930’s remembered: scarcity of food, bankruptcy, chronically unemployed parents, Wall Street and the Federal Government fighting to win economic control while the average family loses. Granted, the 1940’s war generation also grew up with wants and rationing, but look at what they gained: opportunity to serve in the military, opportunity for nearly unlimited hours of employment for people from all walks of life, and a state and nation rallying together to triumph over the enemy.

Young liberals maintained control of the party for the next few years, but lost momentum in 1946 to the FLP. Balance returned in the 1948 DFL convention in Brainerd. Though controlled by the Humphrey wing initially, the left wing eventually bowed out, and held its own convention. Though they produced a list of electors, they lost their slate to Humphrey’s in a decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court.****

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Humphrey gained momentum with his strong anti-segregation speech at the DNC’s national convention of 1948. This famous oratory cinched adding a civil rights plank to the party’s platform. Below is an excerpt that crystalizes his vision for a post-war Minnesota, America, and the world at large.

“Yes, this is far more than a party matter. Every citizen has a stake in the emergence of the United States as the leader of the free world. That world is being challenged by the world of slavery. For us to play our part effectively, we must be in a morally sound position.
We cannot use a double standard for measuring our own and other people’s policies. Our demands for democratic practices in other lands will be no more effective than the guarantees of those practiced in our own country.”*****

We turn our thoughts to You now Lord; may we sit with You and watch this history? We love that You simultaneously are the most responsible leader in the universe, and also the most empathetic! We love that the government of eternity is on Your shoulders because You are omnipotent; infinitely capable. Will You lead us in our intercession for these events, and bring Your Healing Presence into them?

Remarkably, the first thoughts that come to my mind are from a speech by internationally-acclaimed bass player Victor Wooten. A core point of his talk was that music is a language, and we should pass it on in the same way as we teach our young ones our mother tongue; by living with them. Language is caught first, and taught later. Our parents look us in the eye, babble with us, talk to us, listen to us, and model a lifestyle.******

Many of our divides, Adonai, seem to commence at this same point. We are like parents who suck all the color and joy out of a our child’s initial passion for music by making it a chore. We don’t let them discover music through time with their instrument, but instantly burden them with sheet music, scales, and music theory. We do not take time to make music with them, but rigidly set a timer on the piano and say, “Don’t stop practicing until the buzzer goes off!”

Blessed and Holy Ruler, does this apply to April 15, 1944, and the politics of this era? We have tried, in the same breath, to have a political conversation and dominate a political conversation. We have spoken and written, concurrently, that the rules matter and that the rules don’t matter. We have practiced, simultaneously, to both respect boundaries, and disavow boundaries when they interfere with the goals of our revolution. We have looked outwardly for societies evils and put our hand on the heads of its scapegoats to transfer our sins and pain outwardly to them. We have not contemplated our own inward incompleteness that fuels our drive to power.

In all this, as Democratic and Farmer-Laborite Minnesotans, have deeply sinned against You. We have judged our neighbor as coming up short, but not ourselves! We have attempted a coup d’etat to usurp Your rightful position as Head Justice of the Universe, and have separated from justice in the process. We have offended You, and Your sacred image within our neighbor. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on we sinners!

We continue, giving thanks, for the light and healing that began to heal this breach between liberals and progressives on April 15, 1944 and the years that followed. We thank You for those who let young people into the political process. We thank You for those who, in forbearance, overlooked their moments of overzealous energy, failure to understand parliamentary procedure, or arrogance and disrespect towards the Party’s elders. We invite Your blessings on us as a people; will You help and cause us to mentor our youth into wisdom, and active participation in leadership?

Moreover, we thank You thank You have given people eyelids, but not earlids! Hear our acknowledgement of those who listened to their beloved political enemies! We applaud those who heard the empty bellies of the Great Depression survivors and gave ear to the dawning rally cries of the generation of World War II! We bless this virtue of acknowledgement in Humphrey, and ask for leadership like his in the Midwest, both present and future tense, that tempers strong vision with a listening heart. May we rediscover the music of civil discourse, and the gratification of discovering our place in the song of Minnesota! May it be so!

“making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;” Proverbs 2:2 ESV

Timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.dfl.org/about/dfl-history/
*** https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/02/political-warfare-looking-back-early-dfl-caucuses/ citing Nathanson, Iric. “Political warfare: Looking back at early DFL caucuses.” Minnpost. Internet. 4 February 2008.
**** https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2019/09/as-the-dfl-marks-its-75th-anniversary-do-the-partys-farmer-labor-roots-still-mean-anything/ Callaghan, Peter. “As the DFL marks its 75th anniversary, do the party’s Farmer-Labor roots still mean anything?” Minnpost. Internet. 18 September 2019.
***** http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/42humphreyspeech/transcript.php
****** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zvjW9arAZ0 Wooten, Victor. “Music as a Language: Victor Wooten at TEDxGabriolaIsland”. YouTube. 29 May 2013.
******* https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+2%3A2&version=ESV

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20th Century, farming, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Prisoners of War

Moorhead

September 4, 1943 to 1946
One hundred fifty German POWs sit out the war at Camp Number One near Moorhead, a branch camp of the base camp at Algona, Iowa. Farmers short of help pay the government 40 cents an hour for their labor.

Camps were located in or near Ada, Bena, Bird Island, Crookston, Deer River, Fairmont, Faribault, Grand Rapids, Hollandale, Howard Lake, Montgomery, Moorhead, New Ulm, Olivia, Ortonville, Owatonna, Remer, Saint Charles, Warren, and Wells.*

During the span of World War II, approximately 425,000 German, Italian, and Japanese soldiers were taken as prisoners of war and held in the United States. Once in the U.S., the prisoners were disbursed to about 700 camps in 46 states. The prison network had roughly 150 larger base camps, and 500 smaller branch camps.** The vast majority of these POWs were Germans who surrendered in the battlefields of Italy or North Africa. Camp Algona, in Iowa, held about 10,000 of these German prisoners who were contracted to do agricultural labor in the Midwest.***

“It was all about farm labor. Because so many young American men were overseas fighting in the war, there was a severe worker shortage. That was particularly true for agriculture, which was not considered a high-priority industry. The government offered to supply POWs on a contract basis. In accordance with the Geneva Convention, the labor could not directly help the war effort or be dangerous. Many agriculture areas took advantage, including the Red River Valley.
So, farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn contracted for 150 POWs to work their vegetable farms. Army inspectors at first wanted to house the prisoners in a barn near the Red River on 12th Avenue south in Moorhead, but neighbors objected and so an onion warehouse on 21st Street near 4th Avenue North was selected.”****

Algona Branch Camp Number One was created in the spring of 1944 to accommodate Minnesota farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn. This area, known as the Red River Valley, was renowned for its’ potato and beet production. Regional historian Kenneth Dawes said, “Local growers were in a near panic” as to how to get the crop in, and also stated that POWs “literally saved the potato and beet harvest” in the wartime years.**

Many efforts were made to protect the humanity of these detainees at Camp One. They had a plethora of recreational activities to choose from: sports, woodworking and carving, art supplies, and books. The musically inclined even gave concerts of German music to their captors. They were granted the right to attend worship services or not as they saw fit.***

Though some locals thought that POWs were being “molly-coddled”, the general consensus was that our fair treatment of Germans would be passed on to American POWs in Europe.** Yet one wonders; “What was the response of these prisoners of war to their years of captivity in America? Hartmut Lang, the Boston consulate general of the Federal Republic of Germany, gives us an astonishing testimony; ”To a German soldier then, being taken prisoner by U.S. troops amounted to winning a ticket to peace and fair treatment.”**

Now we turn to You, the Emancipator of the Human Race, and Giver of All Human Rights and ponder these stories. We humbly recall Your words that reflect Your benevolence to all; including those in prison.

“Blessed is he whose help is the G-d of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his G-d, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever, your G-d, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.” Psalm 146:5-10 NIV *****

We thank You today for these words of King David so long ago, and that they are forever true!

We confess to You today that we, as Americans and Minnesotans, were unable to avoid war with Nazi Germany in this era, and therefore, may have participated in the deaths of both enemies and innocents. Will You have mercy on this offense?

We confess to You today that we, as Your Church, may have failed to stand prayerfully with our brothers and sisters in Europe in spite of their subjugation and conscription to an evil Fascist dictatorship. Have we righteously hated, rejected, and opposed their government as American citizens, and somehow missed that many of the citizens of Germany were already spiritual captives of Giovanni Gentile; the father of the fascist ideology? ******

Conversely, we confess the judgments of Your Church in Europe towards the United States. Did they fail to see us also as members of Your Kingdom, or only as subjects of the political dominion of America?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and its common political and socio-economic idolatry?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and our shared misbeliefs towards each other during World War II, and taking the bait of self-righteousness held out by our common Deceiver?
Will You set us free from the pride that can assert itself within patriotism, and give make us an unpretentious United States and demütig Deutschland?

Lord, we thank You for this testimony of the character of Your human beings; whether a German POW or an American Minnesotan farmer! We are thankful for the example of Algona Camp Number One and the Peterson and Horn families. Somehow, they simultaneously held up the cause of justice as to the actions of their enemies while not judging their humanity. Yes, they were prisoners, but they were prisoners made in Your Image!

O, dear Father, we so desperately need this kind wise discernment; both here in the North Star state and abroad! Will You continue to bless us to be people who love their enemies and do good for them? Will You give us strong resolve to oppose evil and love what is good and life-giving?

Will You give Your Church the gift of recognizing our dual citizenship? Though we may experience varying degrees of captivity as citizens of our nation of origin, we are also the emancipated subjects of Your Heavenly State. We were all POWs of the Accuser of Humanity, yet You served our sentence for us so we could walk free! Hallelujah! Whether engaged in a outward political war or inward spiritual battle, give us Your eyes, sweet Jesus, to see You inside every POW until war is no more!

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 ESV ******

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/3953177-how-wwii-german-pows-fared-grand-forks
*** http://www.mnopedia.org/place/german-prisoners-war-camp-moorhead-1944-1946
**** https://www.inforum.com/opinion/columns/2725100-McFeely-German-POWs-right-here-in-Moorhead citing Piehl, Mark. “POWs work at Moorhead Truck Farm”. Clay County Historical Society, 1991, pp.15-17.
***** https://biblehub.com/psalms/146-1.htm
****** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Gentile
******* https://biblehub.com/proverbs/16-7.htm

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20th Century, Catholic, football, History, Intercession, Minnesota, sports, Uncategorized

Smith Wins Heisman

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Bruce Smith’s number, 54, became the first officially removed from the roster in 1977.**

December 9, 1941
Halfback Bruce Smith (1920-1967), a college football sensation, becomes Minnesota’s first and only Heisman Trophy winner, then goes to Hollywood to play himself in the film Smith of Minnesota.

Smith was born in Faribault, Minnesota, where he excelled in high school football under the legendary football coach Win Brockmeyer. He then attended the University of Minnesota where he played halfback for the back-to-back national champion Gophers in 1940 and 1941. He received the Heisman two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.*

In 1910, the Minnesota Gophers lost the championship to Michigan 6-0. Tackle Lucius Smith, somehow, blamed himself for the loss. He vowed, allegedly, to have a son who would correct this wrong. Bruce Smith was that son. **

The following excerpt is an amplified account of his infamous “Run of the Century” from the Minneapolis Star Tribune written by Joe Christensen.

“That November battle for the Little Brown Jug needed no hype, pitting No. 2 Minnesota against No. 3 Michigan in Minneapolis. Eventual Heisman winner Tom Harmon threw a touchdown pass, giving the Wolverines the lead, and a crowd of 60,481 shivered beneath wind-swept rain.
“I just remember it was a wet day,” said Smith’s youngest sibling, June, who watched with her family at Memorial Stadium, where tickets cost $2.75 apiece.

Her brother’s No. 54 was barely visible with the mud. He stood in his leather helmet in the days before facemasks, a 6-foot, 195-pound force in Bierman’s single-wing offense.
On the play of the day, if not the century, Sonny Franck took the snap at Minnesota’s 20-yard line, heading right. Franck finished third in that year’s Heisman voting, so the Wolverines crashed toward him. But he quickly handed the ball to Smith on the reverse.
Smith hit the hole, jetted through two linebackers, and made a breathtaking cut left to avoid another tackle, sprinting the final 60 yards untouched. The Gophers held on for a 7-6 triumph.
“Some seven Michigan players took their shots at Bruce … yet he kept those hard-driving legs churning and scored,” Harmon later said. “It was a run that would have to be rated as one of the finest football has ever seen.”
Afterward, instead of hanging around campus to bask in the adulation, Smith followed his postgame ritual — jumping in the family car for the 50-mile drive south to Faribault.” ****
In effect, Bruce received the greatest honor in American college football, the Heisman Trophy, yet he contextualized the relevance of the sport in light of the attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II.
“I think America will owe a great debt to the game of football when we finish this thing off,…”. “If 6 million American youngsters like myself are able to take it and come back for more … and fight hard for the honor of our schools, then likewise the same skills can be depended on when we have to fight like blazes to defend our country.” ***

Mr. Smith maintained a certain heroism at the end of his life also. Struck with cancer, he refused self-pity as he went from 200 to 90 pounds, but sought to encourage and pray with others in the same struggle. He made the rounds with Paulist Fr. William Cantwell who nominated Bruce for sainthood after his death on August 26, 1967. ****,*****

Holy One, the life story of Bruce Smith strikes the author with a sense of awe at his example of servant leadership. Throughout the Scriptures we find this archetype written in the lives of its’ authors. We see patriarchs who form and lead tribes because they have practiced following You in obscurity, total dependency, and want. We see the judges who are both human and erring, and yet reflect Your divinity in superhuman moments of brilliance. We see kings succeed because they continually revere and serve You, therefore, are equipped to rule equitably and wisely lead their nation. We see prophets whom You have broken and humiliated externally, often at the hands of their own foolish authorities, yet live as champions of Your conscience and unfailing love. What will You teach us today, Holy Spirit? What lessons are in the life of this amazing football player and human being for us today? How can this Heisman-winner lead us into rest and repentance?

We thank You for his example of redeeming his father’s sense of failure and shame. We freely confess that we sometimes want our kids to succeed for selfish motives. We should be feeding our kids’ souls regardless of outcomes, not them padding our fragile self-concepts. In spite of the motives of Lucius Smith, You allowed his son to succeed in almost the exact conditions where his father failed?! We thank You for this moment of triumph between father and son. Will You give us a passion for the success of our children like Lucius, but detach their lives from our vows, shame, and egos?

So often, heroism is defined in the blink of an eye. Perhaps this is why your Word constantly calls us to character training. The disciplined mind does not waste time in crisis, but instinctually has chosen beforehand how to respond. Maybe this is a part of Smith’s momentary greatness in his “Run of the Century”? His training overtook his consciousness so that he could simply be in the moment! We thank You that a few moments of his serendipitous action blessed his generation of Minnesotans; both on and off the field! We give You thanks for the supreme beauty of seeing a person being themselves; of fulfilling their purpose so completely that it looks easy! Will You help us remember, right now, this day, that no act of momentary greatness can surpass Easter: Your Passion, Your Crucifixion, and Your Resurrection! Will You inspire our youths’ in Minnesota to actively train their total beings so that they can intuitively and instantly respond with authority to moments of dilemma?

It’s notable that Smith, after this astounding battle against Michigan, responded to victory by just going home. He subtly demonstrates to us that a hero already has a life, and does not attempt to get life out of accomplishments. He defined his own success instead of success defining him. Lord, thanks for his example of fulfillment: he came, he saw, he won, and then he rested. Will You bless us to do the same? Will You help us to choose what success looks like to us, and to relax in it?

Eternal Father, Smith is beloved for many things, but another noteworthy attribute of his was a lifestyle of teamwork. He related to the Gophers as he related to the team of Minnesota as resident, and as a team member of the United States to the threat of World War II. He saw that the principals of winning a football game applied to our American team standing up to existential threats. Jesus, thank You that this young man practiced a lifestyle of teamwork. He saw the necessity to rally his neighbors the same way he rallied his team. He chose to believe that winning is possible, therefore, it is. Will You give the same sense of integration and encouragement to our team’s leaders both present and future?

Bright One, thank You for the light shone through the life of number 54. He realized some brilliant insights early in his walk. Conceivably, the greatest moral of this event in state history is that experiencing heroism makes one want to call out other heroes.

Even as he was dying, he sought opportunities to lift up his team to be cancer survivors. He went out under the spiritual authority of his elders, Father Cantwell, and under You!He wanted share Your heart, the heart of a champion; the heart of faith. Thank You for Bruce Smith and his life of faithful servant leadership! Thanks for Cantwell and the ministry of the Paulist Fathers to: reach out, bring peace, and seek unity. Will You release our generations to: live the same heroic life of faith, to choose our response before a trial, and to be prepared for momentary greatness? We really can win this game! Amen!

“But God gave him back to life, having made him free from the pains of death because it was not possible for him to be overcome by it.” Acts 2:24 BBE ******

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://gophersports.com/sports/2018/5/21/sports-m-footbl-spec-rel-heisman-html.aspx
*** Written by Joe Christensen for Minneapolis StarTribune, December 12, 2016. http://www.startribune.com/bruce-smith-among-the-greatest-gophers-lifted-a-heisman-trophy-and-american-spirits-75-years-ago/404527966/?refresh=true
**** https://www.paulist.org/who-we-are/bio/fr-william-cantwell/
***** https://www.heisman.com/did-you-know-the-1940s-heismans/
****** https://biblehub.com/acts/2-24.htm

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