On May 8, 1945, VE Day, the news went out all over the World. World War II in Germany was officially over. All those Names and places we had lived with for the last four years were now headed for the History books. Eisenhower, Clark, Patton, Churchill, MacArthur, Roosevelt, Stalin, Truman and hundreds more would never be forgotten. Let the celebrations begin!
How would a 14 year old kid celebrate the biggest event ever in Hazard?
Cromwell Sluder had a nice clean 1941 light blue Plymouth coupe. That car had been washed so many times I thought we were going to wear it out. A couple of years earlier, Sluder was up around Vicco one Sunday afternoon when he spied this same car sitting in a front yard. The first thing he noticed was the car had no wheels. It was just sitting there on big wooden blocks. Sluder went in and talked to the lady sitting on the porch and wanted to know if the car was for sale. This was not unusual for that time. During the War automobile tires became very scarce along with a lot of other things. If people who owned cars that weren't being used because Dad or a son had gone off to war they soon realized that they could take the tires off and sell them at a good price. Those were the old standard 600/16 inch tires with the inner tubes. When the lady told Sluder the car was for sale he quickly made her an offer and bought it. Tires would be no problem for him because he owned the only tire recapping shop in Hazard. It wasn't long before Sluder was bopping around town in a practically new Plymouth with four whitewall synthetic rubber camelback recapped tires. l Yes it had a radio, heater and a column stick shift. One day a guy from Lexington came in the shop and sold Cromwell a giant air horn taken off a diesel locomotive. Another new adventure. We rigged an air pressure tank in the trunk and ran a hose under the frame to the front end. The horn was mounted behind the front grille pointing down. When the hood was closed nothing showed.
We had a lot of fun with that horn riding around Perry County blowing at everybody, bicycles, cars and trucks. That thing was really loud. When I reached down and pulled that lever the whole car vibrated and you couldn't hear a thing above that blast. So getting back to the celebration; We pumped up the tank with a 100 pounds of air and drove down town. We were going to make our mark that day. The crowd along Main Street was huge. I never knew there were that many people in this town. Screaming, hollering, dancing around, waving flags and throwing stuff. What a day! When we got in front of the Court House I pulled the lever on the horn and held on tight. The blast covered up all the rest of the noise in town. It was like everything was suddenly quiet. All you could hear was that horn. We were going to give the people something to remember that day. With the horn blowing full blast the air supply only lasted to the end of Main Street . So, we turned left back on High Street to the shop and pumped it up again. I think we made at least four more trips. My head was getting sore. Sluder and I were very proud of the fact that we got to participate in Hazard's greatest celebration. I wonder what happened to that old horn. It had to be illegal.