Posted by: Jim E | May 27, 2013

Memorial Day…1940 Census…Gold Star Families…The Flag…

(This is a post from Memorial Day 2012 but you might like to read it this year…it “fits” again, because it brings up the past…and Memorial Day is looking back at people who have given all for this great country…so enjoy)…

Memorial Day…1940 Census…Gold Star Families…The Flag…

I was perusing  the 1940 Census the other day…you may say, “What?”…and you may add, “You were going through the 1940 Census for what reason?”…I know, I know, you may think it a bit foolish and maybe a waste of time…but if you get started, you may find some interesting information…(did you know that the government doesn’t release Census information like this until 72 years pass, soooo 2012 is it)…and of course you may check whether the information that you have always been told is correct…or if it doesn’t seem to follow…then what may be the reason it is wrong…were people lying to you or was there something they were trying to hide…or maybe it doesn’t matter, but interesting to think about…Jim Burton, for example was born in New York, his wife, Mary was born in Norway…I always thought he was born in England, what with all his stories…maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t…but it’s in the 1940 Census…who is Jim Burton???…just someone I knew…

Another example, when I was growing up, we had a neighborhood store called “Feld’s”…they lived above the store…they were a Jewish family, certainly one of the few in our neighborhood, I didn’t know any others…we lived just outside the Minneapolis city limits and North Minneapolis had a large population of Jews…so that’s where they went to synagogue…but the Feld family were part of our neighborhood…they helped families through the depression…and I remember Max and Tillie well, they were Ma and Pa…and the three boys Bill, Fred and Al…Max and Tillie were born in Austria, according to the 1940 Census…I don’t know this for sure, but Max and Tillie came here from their native Austria…maybe to escape the persecution of the Jews in Europe or maybe just for a better life…all their boys were born here, grew up and went to school with my Mom and her siblings…and all the boys served in WWII…and all made it back from the war…they were a big and important part of our neighborhood, even while I was growing up…we loved that store, penny candy, cokes, ice cream…all the good stuff…

But just down the service road, along highway 55 in Golden Valley, Minnesota…as I noticed in the 1940 Census…lived the Trautmiller’s…and as I remember, their house was back off the road a bit, on a slight hill…I remember the screened in porch…Dad worked for the railroad, he was a hostler (betcha don’t know that one, saw it in the 1940 Census)…and when I was young, sometime just after WWII, I noticed for a long time the stars in their front window…one of them was Gold Star…one of their boys died during the war…somehow in my mind it was early on…Guadalcanal or Tarawa come to mind but I am just mining my memory on that, I’m just not sure…my Mom and Dad would know, they are in the 1940 Census too, but not alive to tell me…but somehow even as a 7 or 8 years old, I knew there was something sacred about the Trautmiller’s…there were other people who had stars in their windows but not a Gold Star like theirs…to this day I remember…

And also in the 1940 Census, my Grandfather on my Dad’s side…I knew he worked for the railroad…the 1940 Census says he was a helper machinist for the steam railroad…well, I have never heard of the Steam Railroad…but I saw that term all over the 1940 Census…it was to make the distinction between public rail…like street cars or light rail…of course in 1940 there were mostly steam locomotives in use at that time…in fact when my Mom took my brother Jack and me to meet my Dad coming back from the Pacific at the end of WWII, in 1945…we took the “steam railroad” from Minneapolis to San Francisco…wooden cars, smoke filled from coal burning locomotives…no A/C so in came the smoke…they saved the best cars for the troops…Mom said the rats came along for free…it was okay with me, I was only three…

With all my talk of the 1940 Census…all that talk, pales in significance to the meaning of today, Memorial Day…though I hope it was not all wasted talk…it may show how our own history is filled full of references and connections to past and present wars, and our history and those who have fought and died to protect all of us…the Feld family…the Trautmiller family…the Burton’s and so many others including you and I…so lets make the connections, follow the references that may help us be thankful for all that we have this Memorial Day…especially our Freedoms as a nation…they are under attack even today…we need to stand up for what young men and women have fought and died for, over the last 200 plus years…

Last night we were watching the National Memorial Day Concert from the Capitol last night…after watching for about 30 minutes or so, an announcement came that severe weather was coming and the 300,000 and more people would have to leave…but the program would go on…people started to leave…and a few minutes later they finally cancelled the entire program…that I know is a hard thing to do…but necessary…I once had to cancel an outdoor graduation ceremony in the middle of reading the names of the graduated…a hard thing to do…but it made me think of how our best laid plans…or dreams…or futures can be altered by things outside our control…and how we need to keep on with life and living…I have done so many times in life, and so have you…we adjust…but it helps to have hope and support from those around us…and most of all, our faith…

In Our Daily Bread today, there was  quote by Oswald Chambers…he was a chaplain in Egypt during WWI…(1915-1917)…he touched the lives of many soldiers who died in WWI…“On November 6, 1916, Chambers wrote in his diary: ‘We have a letter from a New Zealand friend telling us that Ted Strack has been killed. And so Ted Strack has ‘gone to be with Jesus.’ That is just how he would have put it…He was a rough beauty of nature and of grace, a fearless, loveable little saint. Thank God for every remembrance of him…so they are gathering one by one.’”…

So while I spent some time today talking about the 1940 Census…really I have been talking about how so many of those of that time are gone…so many were our parents, grandparents, friends and beyond…but I have a hope…the book of Revelation talks about a great multitude from every nation, tribe…and language…all gathered around God’s throne (Rev. 7:9)…a glad reunion…”The passing of every believer in Christ foreshadows the day when we will join them…in sadness today, we are hopeful as we see that ‘they are gathering one by one.”

And then Our Daily Bread quotes one of my favorite hymns, Beyond the Sunset: “Beyond the sunset, O glad reunion/ With our dear loved ones who’ve gone before;/ In that fair homeland we’ll know no parting…/ Beyond the sunset forevermore.”

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: