Bits of Stone for February 24
By Dean Stone | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Interesting Blount Memorial Hospital stories are recalled
Friends pleasantly pleased, and perhaps surprised, by some of the stories in our latest book, “Blount Memorial Hospital History,” have said I should share a few of the highlights so prospective readers would realize it is not just dry history but a book they need to enjoy and worth saving for future generations.
It includes a lot of interesting stories and photographs of doctors who may have cared for you and some interesting stories which have not previously been told in detail. For another generation it tells a lot about medical care today.
So, from week to week we will include some of the unexpected details from the hospital’s only published history. Nearly 100 individuals helped put together the history recorded in the book.
The public often thinks someone is taking care of the history but a lot of important history is quickly lost. We were unable to recover details of some very important stories from the hospital history because the information, properly stored on microfilm, had deteriorated beyond readability.
Huddleston was driving force
The driving force behind establishment of BMH was A.D. “Red” Huddleston, ALCOA’s regional manager.
The conviction that pushed him into leading the effort resulted from a fox-hunting trip in the mountains. As most know, a fox hunt is not to kill foxes but to enjoy the sound of dogs chasing the foxes.
While waiting for the dogs to run the foxes, they stumbled on a mountain cemetery and A.D. began reading the grave stones by lantern light.
All of the markers seemed to belong to children, many barely six months old while others were not over two years old.
Huddleston had lost a young daughter to diphtheria. If she had only been given the anti-toxin that she needed in time, she would still be alive.
He wondered how many of those children could have been saved had they received proper medical care.
Huddleston went back to town that night, determined to do something about it and he did!
While he provided a strong leadership force, thousands of others made gifts which made Blount Memorial Hospital a reality. It was in a day when a $5 gift per family was considered a good gift. Many gave much more.
Blount Memorial Hospital is a memorial to those Blount residents who lost their life fighting for their country in World War I and World War II.
It belongs to the people of Blount County, successfully operating for 65 years under a board of directors appointed by three local governments which we have elected.
At the present, copies of the book are available at The Daily Times office, 307 E. Harper Ave., Maryville, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The book is part of our continuing effort to preserve local history, much of which would otherwise be lost in a few short years.
70th anniversary of death of planner of Pearl Harbor attack is April 18
V-Mail, a regular publication of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, La., has an interesting summary of how U.S. intelligence was able to target Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto who designed the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.
By the spring of 1943, his offensive plan was not working well and he and the Japanese Navy found their Army colleagues had the upper hand. He was ordered to carry out strikes to destroy Allied air and naval attacks across the Solomons in preparation for the Army’s plans for New Guinea.
He accordingly moved his operations to Rabul in early April.
After a few days of personally directing Japanese offensives in the area, Yamamoto decided to take a one-day inspection tour of the Solomon defenses to thank and inspire the troops before returning to Truk.
He refused to consider warnings from a general and commander in the area. And when they took details of his planned visit to be coded and radioed, they were overruled by communications who insisted that its radio code was safe from U.S. code breakers.
The message was sent and intercepted by the U.S. whose code breakers spent the night at Pearl Harbor deciphering it.
Because of the importance of Yamamoto the decision went to Washington, D.C., where President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s simple instruction was “Get Yamamoto.”
Exactly a year after Doolittle’s Raiders had bombed Tokyo, on Sunday, April 18, the target boarded his bomber along with another bomber and an escort of six Zero fighters.
As the planes approached Bouganville, 16 American P-38 Lightning fighters intercepted the Japanese planes. Both Mitsubishi bombers were downed. Yamamoto’s plane crashed in the jungle.
His body was recovered the following day by a Japanese search and rescue team, cremated and returned to Japan.
The American pilots performed barrel rolls to signal the mission’s success upon returning to Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.
Top leaders knew of the success but did not acknowledge it in order to protect U.S. Navy’s code-breaking operations. The Japanese continued to think their codes were not compromised until the end of the war.
Bits and Pieces:
• The current issue of Sierra Club magazine notes the temperature of lightning can exceed 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, five times hotter than the surface of the sun.
Other sources indicate 80 percent of lightning is between clouds but 20 percent is from the clouds to earth.
Between 1990 and 2003, a total of 756 U.S. residents was killed by lightning. Florida ranked No. 1 with 126, Texas was No. 2 with 52, and Colorado was No. 3 with 39. Tennessee ranked No. 16 with 17 deaths.
Education has led to a reduction of the annual total.
Dean Stone is editor of The Daily Times.