© 2014 Enfys McMurry All rights reserved.
May 12, 1940: Suddenly, abruptly, the seven month “phony war” in western Europe was over. The Germans invaded Denmark and Norway, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Next, they bypassed the Maginot line, smashed through the Ardennes and invaded northern France. People in Centerville and across the nation reeled. One-hundred and thirty-three of Centerville High School’s musicians were in Kansas City as the news broke. They had participated in the National – Regional High School Music Contest. They were waiting for the Rock Island gates to open at Union Station for their return to Centerville. Thousands of people thronged around them. Newspaper boys were hawking the war headlines. War was the topic from radio loudspeakers; war was the talk on every tongue. Just then, through some spontaneous mutual action, the Centerville boys and girls began to sing “The Star Spangled Banner.” Everyone in the station came to attention, loudspeakers were silenced, hats were removed and hush replaced the earlier hubbub. The event brought tears to the eyes of hundreds and those who heard it, those who were there, said they would never forget it. (387/388)