D-Day for All Soldiers in World War II, Including African Americans

Today is D-Day, which was the largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare, and there is plenty of history to read about it. It was the Battle of Normandy during World War II, which lasted from June to August of 1944.

There is also the history of African-American soldiers in World War II. Unfortunately, it was marred by segregation. But African American soldiers played important roles nonetheless.

Notably, Waverly Woodson, Jr. served as a medic on Omaha Beach and treated at least 200 men while sustaining injuries himself. By many accounts, he should have won the Medal of Honor, but did not, despite ample evidence demonstrating he deserved it.

His family and the office of General John C. H. Lee are still working to get that corrected. Part of the barrier is a fire that destroyed Woodson’s records, along with those of millions of other veterans. Woodson died in 2005, but his wife is still working to get him recognized.

We are grateful to all of the soldiers who gave their lives at Normandy.

Ransom’s Cigar Store in Mason City

I was thinking yesterday about Ransom’s Cigar Store in Mason City, Iowa. There are actually a couple of reasons why it’s on my mind now.

The first thing about Ransom’s is that it’s an old pool hall on 120 North Federal Avenue. It looks like it has been there for a century. Decades ago, probably in the 1970s, I played a game of eight-ball with Bart Curran. Bart was the host of Bart’s Clubhouse, which I found out has a substantial Facebook following. Bart’s Clubhouse was a popular kids TV show back in my day and it aired on station KGLO (later KIMT) in Mason City.

Anyway, Bart and I played eight-ball (or was it nine-ball?) and drank a short beer. He was shorter than I imagined. He was a real nice guy. I think he asked me what my dad’s name was and when I told him it was John, he looked a little doubtful and said something like “Not the actor John Amos?”  I don’t remember who won the pool game. It’s unlikely to have been me.

The second thing is, I searched Ransom’s Cigar Store on the web and found a couple of links to something called Ransom’s Pleazol. I can’t find the word Pleazol in any dictionary, including the Scrabble Dictionary. If anyone knows what that means, please drop a comment.

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