My dad loved history. Allegedly, he was somehow ranked in the top five high school students in 1948!? He loved reading the Great Books from Encyclopedia Brittanica. As children, he promised any of us a new bike if we read any of his collection over summer break. I think we all made our attempts, but inevitably failed because of the incredible density of thought in these books.
As an adult, I’ve circled back to the Great Books collection I inherited from him. This year I’ve read Herodotus and am working on Plato. Though I hate the painfully small font, I love the ideas of these icons of thought. Can I share a gem from Plato with you that instantly put me in a state of adoration of the Omniscient One?
“Yes, I said, some one who knows the past and present as well as the future, and is ignorant of nothing. Let us suppose that there is such a person, and if there is, you will allow the he is the most knowing of all living men. Certainly he is.” Socrates
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.” ***
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
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.”
“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!
December 1941 to September 1945
Like “Rosie the Riveter” of the popular song, thousands of Minnesota women don coveralls and take manufacturing jobs to support the war effort. From the home to the field to the factory, everyone pitches in.
As the wartime government promotes women in the workforce, companies distribute brochures offering “Equal Pay for Equal Work.” By 1944, 31.5% of eligible women are employed nationwide; in Saint Paul so many women work the late shift that the YWCA organizes dances that begin at 1:00 in the morning.
Minnesota companies transition as well: Munsingwear makes military garments; Crown Iron Works makes portable bridges and pontoons; Andersen Corporation makes prefab huts; Honeywell makes precision instruments like gunsights; and the Northern Pump Company builds a new plant in 3 months—”the finest machine shop on the globe”—and with 7,000 employees becomes the largest supplier of munitions for the navy.
Children also participate. Minnesota Memo to Women reports in 1943 that “twelve year old Mary Helen Spillane of Backus has purchased a $25.00 War Bond each month since Pearl Harbor. War Bonds will put Helen through college. (Lucky Helen!)” *
Can we stop a moment and ponder how World War II changed those who remained at home with You, dear Father? Before we enter the gates of that question, let’s consider the complexity and immensity of Your thoughts on Justice throughout the ages. We thank You that though You may be perceived by some to be a Vengeful G-d of War and ordainer of the battles of Israel and the Church, that You are also known as the Prince of Peace.
How can this be? We can fail to recognize the paradoxical truths of Your nature though surrounded by examples of them everyday. We can relate to You as parents who strive to live peaceful lives, yet robustly defend and discipline of our children from evil. We may defend them from violent external attacks, offer them a new perspective in their self-imposed accusations, and teach them to reject lies and practice emotional discipline in their thinking.
Do we categorize ourselves as “Humans of Vengeance” as often as we mislabel You as the “Old Testament G-d of Vengeance”? Do we recognize that love can vigorously defend innocence from the vile, and the kind-hearted from the cruel? You know us Lord; we do both. Our love is too soft at times, and our “tough love” can be too tough. Have mercy as we contemplate Your Nature below:
“’The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ “ ** NLT Numbers 14:18
In an age consumed with the virtues of non-judgment and denial of good and evil, we give You honor as the only Judge who Brings Eternal Justice. With the prophet Isaiah, we remember Your promise to: “shew from the beginning the things that shall be at last, and from ancient times the things that as yet are not done, saying: ‘My counsel shall stand, and all my will shall be done’… *** Douay-Rheims Bible Isaiah 46:10
And that seems to expose the root of our human problems that lead to war: we want our will to be done, not Yours. The leaders of a society reflect the beliefs and misbeliefs of that society. States and nations that have rejected Your prudential will necessarily reject the image of G-d in their neighbor. Will You forgive us when and where we have longed for the destruction of our enemies as individuals, and collectively as families, tribes, peoples, and nations?
For the men who served; Your will be done.
For the men who remained at home; Your will be done.
For the women who stepped up and built our war materiel; Your will be done.
For the children who lost time with their mothers and fathers as Minnesota participated in WWII; Your will be done.
For the children who took leadership to defend our Republic in ways large and small; Your will be done.
For Minnesota’s companies, large and small, who offered their skills: Munsingwear, Crown Iron Works, Andersen Corporation, Honeywell, Northern Pump Company, and many others unnamed, yet worthy; Your will be done.
For those who bought War Bonds, or financially contributed to the defense of our unalienable rights; Your will be done.
For the ways and practices of separation and sin we have learned from our participation in World War II, we confess our wrongs, and ask that You remove the curses of these sins in the present. May we bless the future, where we aligned with Your will in standing against the ideals of Fascism, Stalinism, and the defiance of Your Dominion over humanity.
May we reject the mantra of the Enemy in Minnesota; “My will be done” that leads to evil and death!
May we say together presently and beyond; “Thy kingdom come and thy will be done” so that we may have peace and life!
* 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!
Nov 1, 1941 to 1946
The Military Intelligence Service Language School comes to Savage. The school trains Nisei (children of Japanese immigrants) for intelligence and translation work with the Pacific forces. By the time it closes in 1946, more than 6,000 students will have graduated.
The school had been established in 1941 in San Francisco but moved east when Japanese-Americans were forcibly relocated outside of California. Minnesota was chosen as the new site partly because the army “pinpointed Minnesota as the geographic area with the best record of racial amity.” Graduates of the program translated documents intercepted at the front, monitored Japanese radio broadcasts, and interrogated captured enemy soldiers.*
To give more context, after the United States went to war with Japan, as a means of curbing spying and sabotage, President Roosevelt issued the infamous Executive Order 9066 which removed Japanese-Americans from their homes to concentration camps. Categories were made to sort these people based on risk-factors.** For example, “Kibei” were those who grew up in U.S., but for mostly cultural and linguistic reasons were sent back to Japan to receive their university education. The “Nisei”, or second generation Japanese-Americans who raised here were not trusted by the public.***
One wonders how this group reacted to the indignities and real losses of property at the hands of our government. Below is an excerpt from the Minnesota Historical Society based on witnesses and primary source evidence.
“The Nisei who attended the school faced unique personal challenges when deciding to join the military. Many parents of Nisei felt uncomfortable with their children’s participation in the war. After being discriminated against by the federal government, some Japanese Americans found the idea of military service problematic. The US intelligence service feared that after Executive Order 9066, recruits would be hard to find. However, Nisei volunteered in the hundreds, and those who enlisted did so to prove their loyalty to the United States.” ****
This loyalty expressed by the Nisei changed the results of World War II. Although their stories were mostly unknown until decades later, these volunteer linguists did a tremendous service to our state and nation. “The Nisei linguists were credited with shortening the war in the East by two years, saving nearly a million lives and billions of dollars.” ****
What say You, Prince of Peace? Will You bring insight into this page of our history? We are grateful for Your loyalty to each of us. “Know that the LORD your G-d is G-d, the faithful G-d who keeps his gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love him and keep his commands.” CSB Deuteronomy 7:9
We begin by walking thankfully through Your front door. We praise You for your masterful and chess-like precision in positioning us to do Your will. We are grateful for the receptivity of Governor Stassen to bring this school to Minnesota. We remember and are grateful for the gracious spirit You have put into Minnesotans towards their fellow Japanese-Americans. We still benefit from their wise, benevolent, and forbearing heart towards outsiders. Will You continue this attitude in us today, and enable us to be a harbor for the displaced?
Conversely, we recognize the judgments of our Federal government and some of the public. We, as a people, took actions to dehumanize the Nisei and the Kibei. We literally and figuratively committed acts of institutional racism. We tolerated our neighbors being stripped of their unalienable rights, dignity, and property because of fear in the time of war. Will You have mercy on this judgment of Your people; the Japanese-American?
We remember to You the successes and failures of President Roosevelt in this era. Granted, his leadership helped us ultimately gain victory over our enemies, but his legacy is a mixture of both good and rotten fruit. As a candidate, he ran on peace, but reversed his position and declared war. “I am asking the American people to support a continuance of this type of affirmative, realistic fight for peace.” ****** FDR at Madison Square Garden, NYC October 28, 1940 In the the run up to W.W. II, his policies shifted between pacifying the threats of Hitler and Stalin, and enraging Japanese leadership through blocking their sea lanes and ability to trade. ****** These actions seem contradictory to his public persona, and call the sincerity of his motives into question. Ironically, the man who, arguably, did the most for the American common man also committed the most racist act on the American common man in the 20th century with Executive Order 9066?!
Lord, we are no better or worse than F.D.R. With one hand we build up, and with the other we tear down. However, we come and ask Your forgiveness and mercy on the internment of American people based solely on their Japanese ancestry; will You forgive us? Will You forgive the judgments documented in EO 9066, and the corresponding counter-judgments by the Nisei and the Kibei? Will You forgive our common American culture its fear, suspicion, and prejudice towards the Nisei and Kibei? Will You forgive the counter-judgments of the Nisei and Kibei towards their government and fellow citizens?
Today we give You thanks for the thousands of Japanese-Americans who rose above the prejudice of our government! We thank You that they did not take the bait of offense straight from the only truly common enemy of humankind; Lucifer. We thank You that they saw the greater threat to humanity in the aggressive prejudices of Tojo. Will You bless their figurative and literal ancestors to also de-escalate war and solidify peace and good-will through knowing language and culture? Amen!
Jan 2, 1939
Harold E. Stassen takes office as the state’s 25th governor. At the age of 31, Stassen was the youngest governor in the state’s history. He goes on to be re-elected governor in 1940 and again in 1942. Four months into his third term Stassen resigns and enlists in the Navy (April 27, 1943). *
Governor Stassen was raised as a Republican in Saint Paul, Minnesota in the early 20th century. This city had a bifurcated population of laborers from predominantly Catholic regions of Europe, and business owners often with a Protestant work ethic. Perhaps this dichotomy helps explain why he had empathy for laborers, and had awareness of crime and civic corruption? He gained his law degree at the University of Minnesota graduating in 1929, and was ready to battle injustice. **
Soon thereafter, he found a home in the Progressive political platform of Theodore Roosevelt founded ca. 1912. For clarity’s sake, the Progressive Party was founded:
“To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.” ***
‘To that end, the platform called for:
Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions
Registration of lobbyists
Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings
In the social sphere, the platform called for:
A national health service to include all existing government medical agencies.
Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
Limited the ability of judges to order injunctions to limit labor strikes.
A minimum wage law for women
An eight-hour workday
A federal securities commission
Workers’ compensation for work-related injuries
An inheritance tax
The political reforms proposed included:
Direct election of Senators
Primary elections for state and federal nominations
Easier amending of the United States Constitution
The platform also urged states to adopt measures for “direct democracy”, including:
The recall election (citizens may remove an elected official before the end of his term)
The referendum (citizens may decide on a law by popular vote)
The initiative (citizens may propose a law by petition and enact it by popular vote)
Judicial recall (when a court declares a law unconstitutional, the citizens may override that ruling by popular vote)’**** Ibid.
Stassen adapted and simplified this platform to suit the specific needs of Minnesota. Again, his overarching goal was to rid the Minnesota’s government of corruption and cronyism. His secondary goals were to: reform all positions of civil service, create better relationships with labor, provide for the public’s welfare, and restructure the government to make it work more efficiently.
Shall we pray? G-d of All Justice, we remember gratefully that You are perfect in authority, unchangeable, and incorruptible! What comfort to know that You offer wisdom and discernment so freely to those who humbly bow and ask! We remember today that our Messiah laid down his life, spilling His blood to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant, and rising again to conclusively prove that He is “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords”!
We recognize, along with Governor Stassen, that we have broken faith with You in the acceptance of corruption and cronyism of his era. We have bent the laws of Minnesota for our gain, and have inwardly failed to love You or Your Laws. Will You forgive us our enticement to bow to the idols of nepotism, parti pris, and partisanship? We have seen evils, and have agreed with our enemy to “look the other way” and “just play ball”! Have mercy.
Will You bless and keep the heritage of Harold Stassen? Will You give us civic leaders who are immune to the diseases of lobbyists? Will You give us lobbyists who love Your laws? Will You give grace to our leaders of government, finance, business, and industries? Though they have the power to force the changes of laws they desire, may they foster changes in law within the framework of persuasive wisdom and humility. May we progress towards chesed!
July 16, 1936
A temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit in Moorhead ties a record set in Beardsley in 1917 for the highest ever recorded in the state.*
Beardsley, Minnesota is a town of 233 people. It sits in the little “elbow” of Minnesota’s western border in Big Stone county. It’s name came from W.W. Beardsley who homesteaded its first farm and platted it ca. 1880.**
Another little snippet about the history of Big Stone county:
“Scientists declare that men lived on the shores of Big Stone Lake and Lake Traverse nearly twelve thousand years ago. A skeleton, thought by some investigators to be that of one of these people, was exhumed from a gravel pit in Browns Valley Village a few miles north of the Big Stone County line, in 1934. It is known as “The Browns Valley Man”. With the skeletons, were six beautiful flint artifacts of the oldest type that has been classified in America.
Evidences of a more recent prehistoric occupancy of Big Stone County by an Indian-like race are plentiful. Overlooking the lower part of Big Stone Lake, scattered along the Minnesota River below the foot of the lake, and on a prominence near Artichoke Lake, are a number of artificial mounds of earth which have been scientifically surveyed and mapped. Most of these mounds are round and of considerable size and some are flat-topped. Features of the fortified site 60 feet above the river at Odessa are an embankment 722 feet long and 20 feet wide with a height of 1½ to 2 feet, and a diamond-shaped mound varying from 42 to 54 feet in diameter, with a flat top, 20 X 28 feet.”***
Ok G-d, I don’t know a lot about this place other than it’s small, farming-oriented, and contains some ancient history. Oh, and it’s the site of the hottest recorded heat in my home state. Where do You want to lead me in prayer today?
I begin with giving thanks for this small town. You care about each and every place in this universe, and so I commend You for being so watchful over it today. We remember You as the Observant One of All today!
Next, I want to express gratitude for Your creation of weather, and how You masterfully control the climate of the world for the benefit of all creation, and for Your greatest purposes. We do not ponder enough how exactly You limit the range of high temperatures within the fairly narrow bandwidth that we can survive. Thank You, dear Father, that our high temperature record is only 115 degrees Fahrenheit!
However, we can be so fickle as a people because of the yearly swings we endure in our weather. Few places on the earth have a larger average yearly temperature swing. Where else on earth can it feel like 115 degrees in the summer, and down to minus 30 degrees in the winter?**** Forgive our offense to You in cursing the summer heat, and grumbling about the most frigid times in winter.
In sum, we thank You for the extremes of our climate, and for how they shape our character as a people. We are somewhat forced to relent and remember that we can’t control all the variables of our lives, and that is a good realization. We invite Your continued blessings on the weather over Beardsley, Big Stone, and the entire North Star State. Well done! You are the peace when we can’t take the heat!