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April 27, 2005

I hope many of you were able to catch the two-part TV series on President Franklin D. Roosevelt last week. It was lengthy because it covered all four of his elections to the presidency of this country, starting with 1932 when he defeated the pilloried incumbent, Herbert Hoover.

The reason for the lengthy docudrama is easy to figure out. Much of this country's history is contained in that period, and FDR (love him or hate him) was an integral part of that. So, it took two-hour segments to tell about it. That is only one hour for each of his four terms of office, and he surely merited at least that much coverage.

President Roosevelt was unique in a variety of ways. Many of us who remember him so well know that he was a complex figure, given to unilateral action, and it is small wonder that he was branded a "dictator" by his political enemies. He brought this country out of a gloomy depression era and led us when we went to war. The TV series made it clear that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor propelled this country prematurely into the maelstrom of WWII. Until then (December 7, 1941), the U.S. had been primarily an onlooker into what had been a European war. We quickly became a super power. FDR had promised in his campaign for the presidency that we would not see the U.S. as a participant in the war. It was an excellent piece of history, well told. Television should have more pieces like this. We need to know our history.

On the other hand, last week also saw the induction of former governor and U.S. senator Henry Bellmon into the "Cowboy Hall of Fame" at Oklahoma City. The very next day, the "Henry and Shirley Bellmon Heritage Park" was unveiled in a brand new setting, directly across 23rd street from the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City. That was a tribute to the former governor/senator from Billings and the late Mrs. Bellmon. The three Bellmon daughters, Ann, Gail and Pat, were there for the occasion, and Henry's wife of three years, Eloise, also was gracious as Mr. Bellmon's attributes were pointed out. Many complimentary remarks were made by a group of dignitaries and friends on hand for the occasion. Noble County can be proud of the Bellmon family, and this latest honor is certainly well deserved.