Good News from Mighty Rivers
When the senior year for the Class of ’43 neared graduation, our
country was up to its ears in a World War. They went from
commencement to commence firing; from graduation to grenades, and
the picture was bleak. U. S. troops on Bataan surrendered; the Burma
Road was cut by the Japanese; Mandalay fell to the enemy; the U.S.
Garrison on Corregidor was taken prisoner.
Back home, tires were rationed; nationwide gasoline rationing was
ordered. All U. S. motorists were issued A, B, or C stickers. Those
with A stickers were allowed four gallons of gas per week. Pleasure
driving was banned.
All Americans were rationed 28 ounces of meat per week. How did they
do that? No matter how much money you may have had, you could buy
only what the ration stamps allowed for in the way of tires,
gasoline, meat, coffee, sugar, flour, fish and other items.
Americans planted “Victory Gardens” in their backyards, window
boxes, and between the sidewalk and the street.
The war raged on. Allied forces landed in the Solomons; our airborne
troops invaded Sicily; the Fifth Army reached Salerno.
The plan for the extermination of the Jewish people was sweeping
Europe. Millions of the Jews were deported to death camps.
So what emotional scars and psychological damage were incurred by
the Class of ‘43? Think of some of the songs they wrote and
sang—“Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” “People Will Say We’re In
Love,” “Mairzy Dotes,” and “Surrey with the Fringe on Top.” They
stayed strong, and they stayed real.
Over the next two years, some of the Class of ’43 became a Gold Star
in the window of an American home, dying in faraway places. And when
it was over, over there, these Americans had paid their dues for a
Now, seventy-six years later we salute the heroic, freedom loving,
God fearing, self-sacrificing Class of ’43, and we pray that today’s
generation can live worthy of their example, walk nobly in their
steps, and graduate into glory.