More musings from the market
It doesn’t seem possible the summer has passed so quickly. School is back in session and many residents are off on holiday trips to Europe or returning to their permanent first homes.
Fact is, summer slips by so fast because Vail is such a great place. So much to do. So much to enjoy. So many nice people.
For me, it’s over too. Last Saturday at Minturn and Sunday at Vail were sadly my last Markets of the season. My wife, Bobba, and I are off to New York to study at the Academy of Art for two months.
The market season ended on a high note, however, with continued interesting people stopping by.
Saturday in Minturn
It was already raining when the market opened. A small but hearty group of people were milling about. The vendors were gloomy and wet. Everyone thought, “What are we doing here today.” The tents were set up and a loyal group of regulars arrived to walk the market with umbrellas.
Scott Carpenter and I set up in the driest corner of the Vail Daily tent complex. It wasn’t long before we were discovered in the back of the tent – I should say, Scott was discovered. A line started to form and Scott was off and running. Despite the inclement weather, a steady stream of folks stood in line to meet one of the original Mercury 7.
Throughout the morning a trio of belly dancers danced in the rain, it reminded me of the Native American “snowdance” that brought Vail much needed snow all those years ago S except this time, their belly-dancing brought some welcome sunshine and rain started to let up around 10:30 a.m.
“The greatest contribution’
During the rain, East Vail residents, Paul and Betty Numerof sat next to me and talked about Paul’s unusual career as an atomic scientist at Los Alamos during World War II. As a young soldier, the army sent Paul to M.I.T. While there, a secret research project was announced and the army was looking for soldiers qualified in science to volunteer to work on this project. It turned out to be The Manhattan Project.
“This is the greatest contribution we could possibly make to the war effort,” The recruiter told Paul. “If successful, it could materially shorten the war.”
In July of 1945 Paul and five other men were assigned to build a special laboratory that would refine and purify the enriched Uranium metal that the physicists had been using. On Aug. 6, 1945, the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. On Aug. 9, three days later, a bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. On Aug.14, the Japanese surrendered unconditionally.
What the recruiter said had actually come to pass.
Not too many were or are aware that in November 1945, the U.S. forces were poised to attack the island of Kyushu. In the spring of 1946, Honshu was to be the next target. Those would have been devastating invasions. The war would have been far from over. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, Japanese army men and civilians would have perished.
The decision to use the bombs was one of the most important milestones in World history.
In reflecting on his long and lustrous career serving his country Paul Numerof said:
“One of the things that has always disturbed me has been the comments of so many people in the entertainment industry, even in broadcasting who have had only negative things to say about the use of nuclear weapons to end World War II. Remember, the use of those two bombs brought the war to an end and the killing stopped. To me the people with the only true impeccable credentials to comment are the soldiers, the sailors, the airmen and the Marines. Everyday they faced fighting and the dying during World War II.”
Every man that served that I have ever spoken to said that without those two bombs they would not be alive today. And to them the ending of the war which those two bombs did in those few days in August 1945 enabled them to live and resume the plans that they had had before joining the service.
It is so easy, after the fact, to comment and be critical. In that regard, it is well to remember the words of the Englishman of letters, John Gallsworthy who wrote, “Idealism increases in direct proportion to ones distance from the problem.”
In 1945, President Truman had no distance between the problem. He acted and the bombs were dropped and the war was brought to a close. As far as I am concerned, President Truman made the right decision.
When the sun appeared, the Minturn Market began to glow again. People arrived en masse, the jazz music started and smiles returned.
Both Scott and I couldn’t believe the 2 o’clock closing was upon us. He closed shop with a smile, having continued to sell more than 100 books. I closed shop with some sadness, knowing it was my last appearance this summer. There was a happy side, the Minturn Market is a great experience – you never know who will stop by or what stories they might tell.
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Vail’s updated plans regarding the state guidelines and isolation housing requirements is one of several pieces of information guests are waiting on heading into the 2020-21 season.