Happy Birthday, Oahe Dam!
Ceremonies are going on in and near Pierre to mark the Oahe Dam’s 50th birthday.
I was eleven years old at the time, but I remember the dedication was going on, and because i remember, I was happy to see the organizers hadn’t forgotten someone who also was a child at the time.
The construction of the dam was seen as innovative and so the dedication was a big deal.
And a little girl from Pierre, Jamie Damon, wrote to President John F. Kennedy and invited him to the dedication. JFK accepted, and was there for the ceremony. I paid attention to news even at that age, and I remember a newspaper picture of Jamie and President Kennedy meeting each other.
So when I read one of the schedules for this weekend, I saw Jamie Damon was going to be included, and I thought that was really gratifying.
A radio colleague in Pierre says she is still remembered for her role, and he also tells me he’s heard ten to twenty people who worked on construction of the dam still live in the area.
One of the dignitaries on hand fifty years ago was George McGovern, who was running for the Senate at the time. He was planning to attend this time, but a cold is keeping him from being there.
But Happy Birthday, Oahe Dam, and long may you hold back the river and generate electricity!