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Git Home!


Henrieville, Utah, pop. 210

Words by Carolyn Fox. Photo by Larry Angier

“Salute that grand old flag there,
With its stars, stripes and patch of blue.
We did our best to keep it waving
Now it’s up to all of you...”
...poster, post office lobby

We stopped that morning in Henrieville, Utah, because we saw three young men working up a sweat. In front of the post office, they were breaking up a perfectly good concrete sidewalk.

“Gotta put in a handicapped ramp,” one told us as he heaved a huge hunk into the back of a truck.

Thelma Smith, the postmaster, stepped from inside, and stood in the doorway of the bedroom-sized building and said hello. Larry remembered it was the last day to buy a certain item for his stamp collection: the special cancellation envelope commemorating the last mail route in the 1940s when the mail was still carried on mule-back between Boulder, Utah, and Henrieville. Yes, Thelma had just what we wanted, and, as we would soon see, just what we needed. As we stepped through the door of the Henrieville Post Office, 84736, we went back 50 years.

One entire wall and part of a door was covered with World War II memorabilia. It was papered with black and white photos sepia-toned with age, lists of names, lists of rationed items, newspaper clippings, lyrics from songs like “White Christmas,” even a copy of the “Pledge of Allegiance.” We’d come in for a commemorative stamp and had found a display commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the End of World War II as it pertained to Henrieville and Garfield County.

Thelma was our guide. One-fourth of the town’s citizens went off to the war. All returned except her husband’s older brother, Guy, who went down with his ship, the USS Indianapolis on July 30, 1945. This was the ship that had just delivered the atom bomb. In 14 days the war would be over. Her husband’s grandmother, Elizabeth J. Smith, had 21 grandsons in the war including Guy.

The museum-like wall display was Thelma’s idea spawned by a series of postage stamps honoring WWII veterans. She contacted the families who were in the area at the time of the war. That was all it took. The mementos started flooding in: dog tags, canceled stamps, coins, letters, uniform patches, and pennants. Rather than a few items from individual homes, the collection became grander than just a sum of its parts. Now a youngster still in school can have a panoramic view of what’s involved when our country goes to war. Tourists pass through town and stop, even some from Europe. They never realized that the war put us through similar hardships as they experienced. Thelma hopes lessons will be learned, and never forgotten. Now it’s up to all of you.

To see more of Carolyn & Larry’s photography, visit their site at <>


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