Bob Groeneveld has been sharing his Odd Thoughts with Langley readers for the past four decades, and then some.

Odd Thoughts: 2020 hindsight lost in world events

Langley past may hold insights into future being create by Trump

By Bob Groeneveld

.

You’d think 2020 should naturally be the year of perfect hindsight.

But world events so far this year suggest that it takes more than a good set of glasses.

Lest you despair, here’s a peek at how well Langley prepared itself in the past that may lie ahead as US President Donald Trump turns the clock back nearly a century.

Just days after the infamous Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbour that steeled American courage to take a side in the Second World War, Langley mayor Alex Hope assured local residents that it was not illegal to hold public meetings under wartime black-out regulations implemented by the Ministry of Defence.

Later that week, however, Langley residents were reticent to leave their homes, and only 886 of 3,348 eligible voters turned out for civic elections. Hope was returned as mayor with 790 votes.

Democracy prevailed!

Within days, air raid wardens and their deputies organized plans to meet any attempts by the Japanese to invade Langley. The mayor was able to report that Brookswood’s Air Raid Protection Service was already getting well organized.

All threats were being considered, not just sneak attacks with bombs that go boom. The Air Raid Protection Squad, as the wardens and deputies named themselves, met in Langley Theatre for training in dealing with incendiary bombs.

By the end of May, a Langley-wide war black-out exercise was held… and the wardens deemed it a success.

Meanwhile, Langley recognized the importance of the economics of war, both militaristic and humanitarian. While local businesses and individuals regularly surpassed war bond targets, Langley exceeded its Red Cross quota of $2,500 by 28 percent (nearly a million today, adjusted for inflation and population increase).

Crates of first aid and other air raid protection equipment arrived for deployment in Langley’s air raid posts, and before Pearl Harbour was a year old, Aldergrove had a special firefighting force “equipped with an air raid protection pump… to meet the threat of possible incendiary attacks by the enemy.”

Similar provisions were planned for Fort Langley.

A new three-horsepower electric air raid siren was installed on the top of Athletic Hall in Langley Prairie.

To ensure the general population was imbued with the appropriate mindset, an air raid protection demonstration was held on the Langley Athletic grounds as a climax to Home Preparedness Week in Langley.

Langley shops and businesses happily reorganized their opening hours in compliance with recommendation from the Division of Simplified Practices of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board.

And of course, all residents whose ancestry suggested questionable allegiance to Canada were rounded up, their possessions seized, and sent to concentration… er, internment… camps in the Interior and Alberta.

What fun, eh?

Or we could wax nostalgic about war preparations in 1950s Langley – radiation counts, duck-and-cover drills, government pamphlets on bomb survival techniques and bomb shelters, post-bomb first aid and economic restructuring plans – as Trump faces down the forces of Impeachment… er, Iran.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: Gabby’s Country Cabaret announces ‘heartbreaking’ permanent closure

Owner Steve Gallagher ‘holds out hope’ of a new future for the 35 year old establishment

Aldergrove’s drive-in theatre stops showing films after 50-car limit comes into effect

Tuesday night was exceptionally quiet at Metro Vancouver’s only drive-in theatre –… Continue reading

VIDEO: Langley Community Music School Fiddlers release series of video recordings

Year-end concert covers include Cripple Creek, Tennessee Waltz, and a bevy of Beatles tunes

Councillors spar with developer over Willoughby shopping site

Council argued over density, mixed-use, and the definition of “strip mall” on Monday

VIDEO: Semi-truck rolls over into ditch on Glover Road

There was no reports of any serious injuries but traffic is delayed in both directions

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Langley Advance Times to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Officials looking for answers after Abbotsford football star found dead in Sask. lake

Saskatchewan Health Authority looking into circumstances surrounding Samwel Uko’s hospital visit

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

Most Read