We hope that all of you reading this issue of the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin will be tempted to return for the big Memorial Day weekend coming up in a couple of weeks. Traditionally the weekend is a time for class reunions, family gatherings, and visits with friends and former residents. It is always a rewarding weekend — a time to catch-up and remember what it is about our community that pulls us back.
This year Peabody Main Street Association will play host to the second “Operation Celebration: the 1940s” recognizing our World War II veterans and the servicemen and women who have put everything on the line for us in conflicts since the end of the “Great War.” More than 1,000 people from 17 states came to Peabody in 2008 to be a part of the festivities. Shortly after the celebration went into the special event scrapbook, people started calling and e-mailing to find out if another was on the docket for this year.
How could they say no? The Main Street organization once again has pulled out all the stops to honor the veterans who deserve our thanks. A supplement to this issue of the newspaper will detail the many events taking place during the celebration.
In addition, some businesses will be open with special events such as the book signings at Jackrabbit Hollow — Peabody High School graduate Hank Shockley has written a book about his experiences in Vietnam and he will autograph a copy just for you. Doyle Valley Farmer’s Market will offer Victory Garden produce at Santa Fe Park. Visit the Vault of Treasures in the American Legion (the most popular exhibit in 2008), and see memorabilia from servicemen and women and folks on the home front in Marion County.
Downtown store windows will feature 1940s exhibits. World War II re-enactors will be here, the World War II History Center of El Dorado will host a WWII weapons demonstration, and a vintage field hospital unit, flag display, and Victory Parade with a WWII airplane fly-over, which will offer additional entertainment.
Immediately following the Victory Parade, PMSA invites the community, visitors, veterans, and their families to attend a reception at Santa Fe Park. Given the “Aw, shucks, I’m no hero” nature of so many veterans, I have been instructed to tell them here that at the reception they will not be put on the spot, interviewed, or publicly acknowledged for their service to the country. It is merely a chance for the community to visit with them and their families, enjoy some music and refreshments, and bask in a “Peabody moment.”
The Saturday night meal will be one to remember under the big tent on the Marshall Auction property. Added to the supper is a “To Die For” dessert auction featuring desserts from the best cooks in Peabody. At dusk, the downtown will rock to the music of “A Touch of Class” featuring 1940s big band swing music. Reunion groups, families, and alumni are encouraged to enjoy the ambiance of the evening and remember a time when our community pulled together for a different reason.
On Sunday, Peabody Main Street will host a birthday party with free cake and ice cream for everyone in honor of PMSA’s 20 years in Peabody. The Senseney Music Community Band will present a band concert, just like in the good old days.
You should come back and spend some time in your hometown. You know you want to. And what a great weekend for it! I haven’t even mentioned the Avenue of Flags at Prairie Lawn Cemetery, the traditional Memorial Day service, or the alumni reception Saturday night at the home of Pat Hunnell on Walnut Street. The sophomore class will host the annual Memorial Day dinner on Monday and the historical society will offer an afternoon tour featuring the “Mysteries and Legends of Peabody” Monday afternoon.
There, you see? You should be here just to see if you are one of Peabody’s legends … I think you are, but I will never tell what I know about you. Come see us!
— Susan Marshall