72 years ago on February 23rd 1945 a young 17-year-old boy from Diboll, John Richard Powers, never thought he’d live to this day to tell his story of seeing the US flag being raised on the island of Iwo Jima. John’s Marine Division was ordered to capture Mount Suribachi from the Japanese after two days of bombardment. Capturing this small island was a primary objective of America’s military plans to bring the Pacific campaign to a successful conclusion. On the morning of the 23d at about 10:30 AM men all over the island were thrilled by the sight of a small American flag flying from atop Mount Suribachi. The victory claimed the lives of almost 6,200 Marines and Navy personnel and casualties of more than 24,000.
This past Sunday February 19, 2017 aboard the Battleship Texas, the 72nd Anniversary Battle of Iwo Jima was commemorated. John Powers was there along with three other Marines, one Sailor and a Corpsman from Minnesota who served in the same division with John. During the solemn ceremony these six Iwo Jima survivors were each presented a United States flag that has flown at the US Marine Corp War Memorial in Arlington, VA. This is where the life size bronze statue of the iconic flag raising is located. May our nation be forever thankful and indebted to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and to those who served and continue to serve around the world to keep our precious Freedoms.
Two of John Powers’ daughters attended this special event with him; Johnica Edgerley and Belinda Stanley. Those that attended the ceremony were treated to a dinner at the Monument Inn at 4PM where Johnica sang the fourth verse of the Star Spangle Banner with her talented voice that can easily reach the high notes in our national anthem. One more interesting note about John’s service in the marines. His division was scheduled to come home in December of 1945 but it was February of 1946 before he made it back to Diboll. He was welcomed home by family and one special young lady who had been waiting for him, Mable Nivens. They were married March 16, 1946 and will soon celebrate their 71st anniversary. Congratulations to this wonderful couple!!
On Sunday, February 26th, the H. G. Temple Alumni Association sponsored the Annual City Wide Black History Program which was held in the Even Start Family Literacy Cafeteria. Donna James served as the MC. Ternisha Cortines moved the crowd with an interpretive dance number and The Church of the Living God Choir sang from their souls. All in attendance enjoyed a terrific lunch of chicken & dressing with all the trimmings. During the program Mayor John McClain read a proclamation proclaiming the month of February as Black History Month and urged all citizens to join together in making this a time of rededication to the principles of justice and equality for all people. The mayor then recognized two community leaders that received plaques, Sam Coleman and Clara Mitchell.
Diboll High School Alumnus Katrina Hines was the guest speaker. She is a college graduate from Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M and was presented a certificate of recognition for her accomplishments. Elliott Gordon, Mable Johnson, Earline Vinson and Joyce Bray also received plaques of recognition from the H. G. Temple Alumni Association. The Community Service Award was presented to representatives of OCDC and Team Sexy. These are two different groups of men and women who promote and organize an annual Mother’s Day Dinner. Throughout the year and at Christmas they also organize activities for the youth.
David Harold Curbow stopped by to buy fig preserves. I agreed with him when he said a lot of folks mistake him for his pastor, Ronnie Frankins. David was on his way to the Old Paper Mill club pasture in Polk County. Several guys who worked together enjoy gathering there including Larry Mills and son, Burt and Moody Smith, Jr. Clay Platt who has a cabin nearby and known as the “king of squirrel hunters” usually joins them although he works for DEMCO in Diboll.
Glenda Tobias came in for chick starter for her nine new baby chicks. She and I discussed how neat it is to have backyard chickens and fresh eggs. I usually share with customers how I spoil my hens with Happy Hen Treats that we sell. Dwayne Sanford shared he received the best birthday gift from his kids for his February 10th birthday. Dwayne enjoys cooking outdoors and they gave him a stainless steel folding cook table. Dwayne and Stephanie have four grandbabies and one on the way.
I truly hate I missed seeing Billy Stanford when he came in for zipper cream pea seeds. He’s now retired from Brookshire Brothers after working there for 44 years. Lots of folks are getting seeds in hopes of being able to plant soon including Robert Hooks and E. W. Scarborough who plants enough Top Pick Purple Hulls to sell to the public. Clara and Ron Lemons from Livingston came in for green bean seeds. They canned 80 quarts of green beans in jars last year. Mr. Lemons bought a yellow 3-knife gift set, Old Timer Limited Edition 2016 and came back the next day and bought a brown set. The set includes: Schrade “Pal”, “Dog Leg Jack” and “Slim”.
One of our customers from Zavalla, Rodney Lott and his mom are the new owners of the Eagles’ Nest café on the main street through town. He said the shrimp and “all-you-can-eat catfish” served on Friday nights will be worth the drive. They open early for breakfast and have a steam table at lunch and open late.
Don’t forget this Sunday afternoon, March 5th at 3PM, will be a free concert by our own East Texas Wind Symphony at the Diboll ISD Family Education Center, 299 S. Neil Pickett Dr.
Check out our website at Poulands.com and come see us…’round the table.