March 2, 2015


Monday, February 23, marked the 70th anniversary of the iconic photo of U.S. Marines raising the American flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Prior to the flag raising, the major US objective was to capture airfields for emergency landings for our B-29 bombers. Just a small note in case you’ve forgotten your history, 74 days of US bombings before the invasion of Iwo Jima had little effect on the Japanese due to their intricate 11-mile tunnel system; it was almost impossible to penetrate the island. The US Marines and Navy corpsmen met heavy resistance but managed to take the island in 36 days. 6,800 U.S. soldiers were killed at Iwo Jima, 19,000 others injured in what became a major turning point in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

A 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the battle of Iwo Jima was held on the forward deck of the Battleship TEXAS at the San Jacinto Battleground on Sunday, February 22. Former Diboll resident, Corporal John Powers, a 3rd Marine Division veteran of the battle of Iwo Jima was present for this impressive ceremony. In January 1944 John lied about his age of 17 to join the US Marines and served 25 months and 25 days. After John and a fellow Marine saved the lives of many fellow soldiers, John was laying on an airfield when he looked back over his shoulder to see a group of soldiers raising an American flag high up on Mt. Suribachi. That photo has been immortalized in bronze. “The raising of the flag is a symbol of sacrifice that thousands of Marines gave for our freedom. The sacrifices they made then and now, are the reason we’re able to have our freedom.” Attending this commemoration with John was his wife, Mable (Nivens), their daughters Johnnica Edgerley of Farmers Branch and Belinda Stanley of Bedford. Also attending was John’s brother, Earl Powers and his wife, Doreen, of Pasadena.

How many remember the field trips to the San Jacinto Battle Ground to see the Battleship TEXAS? To a 4th grader living in Diboll in the 50’s, battleships didn’t mean much to me. It is interesting to learn that the Battleship TEXAS is the only surviving battleship to have fought in both world wars. At the beginning of WWII she was designated the flagship of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. She supported invasions of North Africa, Normandy, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. She is now designated a National Historic Landmark and also a National Engineering Landmark. It might be time for another visit to see her.

On Saturday evening before the Commemoration ceremonies on Sunday, several honorees and their families were having dinner together. John and Mable Powers’ daughter, Jonnica Edgerley, is a singer and does not hesitate when her dad asks her to do something. This is not the first time but because John loves the 4th verse of our national anthem, he ask Jonnica to sing it while visiting with other veterans and military dignitaries in a restaurant! Before she finished everyone was standing.

The lyrics to the 4th verse:
“Oh! Thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the Star – Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’ver the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

“And this be our motto: In God is our trust.” That is part of our national anthem that we never hear. But if you will notice around town you may begin to see our motto being displayed in yards on small crosses that say, Jesus is LORD. These crosses are a statement of support for our Christian foundation. It started in the small town of Frankenmuth, Michigan, a town of less than 5,000, when someone questioned two crosses on a bridge in town. A person requested that they be removed and the town removed them. He then decided that the city shield should also be changed since it had a heart with a cross inside signifying the city’s Lutheran beginnings. At that point, residents decided they had had enough. Hundreds of residents made their opinions known by placing a small cross in their front yards. There are those who are trying to remove from our history and current lives any reference to God, prayer, or the fact that our country was founded on Christian principles. It is time to stand up and make a statement, a small, quiet but powerful statement. If you agree, place a small cross in your yard for all to see. A Christian business man in Angelina County is making the crosses and donating them to anyone that wants one. The crosses are presently available under the large sign at Faith Family Church on highway 59 in Burke. Stop and get one for your yard!

March 11th is the last day to order “tea cakes for a heart” fund raiser for 34-year-old David Ray Crunk who is waiting for a heart transplant. There is a sign up sheet to place your order here at Pouland’s , First United Methodist Church 829-4470 or Pam Burnette at 829-4631. Anyone wanting to help bake or donate supplies, please call Pam Burnette or First Methodist Church. Donations of sugar, flour or butter flavored Crisco will be greatly appreciated.
Rhonda Shivers is getting ready to go “on the road” with her Southern Pines Boutique. Rhonda has been selling fashionable clothes in her house on Tidwell Road but has purchased a trailer and fashioned it into a cute mobile boutique. Next Saturday, March 7th, she will have it parked at Diboll Motors and have it open for the Grand Launch Party, 10AM – 4PM.

One last thought. Most Texans are very proud to say we are from Texas. In remembrance of Texas’ Independence which is officially celebrated on March 2nd, take a pen and draw the shape of Texas on a piece of paper. Mine was awful!

Come see us…’round the table.