Sometimes writing a weekly column can be stupefying. Occasionally when I sit down at the keyboard all that appears in my brain is blank, dry air. Nothing at all comes to mind (OK, I know this is a great opportunity to inject a joke about my mental capacity, but I digress).
So it goes for me today as I attempt to write my weekly blather. I don’t have one controlling theme that permeates my collective psyche this morning, but there are a number of little things that come to mind, so I will just ramble on a few topics and call it a day.
My first thought is to congratulate all the people who worked on bringing the Texas Junior High Rodeo to Gonzales. The rodeo is great for city coffers, the local economy and for Gonzales in general. People came from all over Texas to attend the week-long event, and they spent a lot of money in feed, food, lodging, gas and entertainment. They all seemed to have a great time. People I chatted with at the rodeo gushed about the friendliness of the people of Gonzales County, and the hospitality they received here.
“We love coming to Gonzales,” said a lady from Dripping Springs. “I can let my kids run around without worry, they can go down to the river and swim, plus there is a good choice of places to eat and stay.”
A gentleman who came to town from Flagstaff, Arizona said the same thing. “Y’all have some friendly folks down here,” he said. “Everyone is real polite and eager to lend a hand. Y’all need to let the outside world know about Gonzales.”
OK, sir, we will.
Last week was a very important week for Gonzales, because the state board that decides where the Junior High Rodeo is going to be held had to make a decision on whether or not to continue the rodeo in Gonzales for the next five years. The alternative was to move it to a new facility in Waco. By a vote of 26-1, the board chose Gonzales!
That is huge folks! Well done to the group working with the rodeo, the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Gonzales, and all the city staff who worked out at J.B. Wells Park Arena over the week. And finally, well done to all the volunteers who staffed the event and made it a great rodeo for the kids and their families.
As I write this on Wednesday morning, I am constantly reminded of today’s date in the annals of
June the 6th. Does that date have any meaning to you at all? It should—I know it means a lot to my generation and to my parents’ generation and their parents’ generation.
What I am talking about is the immortal date of June 6, 1944. D-Day. The Invasion of Normandy. The beginning of the end of Nazi-ism, fanaticism, genocide and tyrannical control of governments and peoples. I have been to Normandy, and I have walked Omaha and Utah Beaches. It is hallowed ground. I have been to Point-Du-Hoc, Caen, Sword Beach, Juno Beach, Gold Beach and the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer overlooking Omaha Beach. It is a solemn place, and it should never, ever be forgotten. Here then is one thought, one salute, and one Amen for the men who fought there and died there and came home from there. True American heroes of the Greatest Generation. It was an honor to have known so many of those warriors.
Speaking of military dates, on the date of June 6, 1942 the greatest modern sea battle in history was wrapping up at Midway. Just six months following the debacle of Pearl Harbor, Fredericksburg’s own Admiral Chester Nimitz gambled on superior top secret intelligence and bushwhacked Yamamoto’s much larger fleet at this seminal sea battle. By the time the battle was over, four Japanese carriers lay at the bottom of the Pacific in Davy Jones locker. From that date forward, the forward march of the Japanese navy across the Pacific was stopped, and two months later the Fighting Leathernecks of the legendary 1st Marine Division began the long march back across the South Pacific in their epic attack and victory on the island of Guadalcanal.
So please remember June 6. It really is (or was when you read this) an important day.
One final thought: the Texas River Safari rolls or paddles through our part of the world this weekend. I’ll be out on the western side of the county rooting the canoers on. Make a stop by the river and root ‘em on. Let ‘em all know that Gonzales is the place to be.