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Bob Lind, Published October 14 2012

Lind: World War II hero from ND loved, lauded small-town life

There’s something special about small communities, as one who lived in one wrote some years after becoming a World War II hero.

Myron “Mike” Ranney parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and participated in the airborne operation in Holland, fighting in the company made famous by the book “Band of Brothers.”

Mike grew up in Sheldon, N.D. He went into journalism after the war. He died in 1988.

All this was reported here earlier. Now a note comes from Curt Black, who lives in the North Dakota Veterans Home, Lisbon. He sends along a story Mike wrote for Sheldon’s centennial book in 1981.

Curt, who lived in Sheldon about 47 years, was a classmate of Mike’s in Sheldon High School’s class of 1942.

Mike wrote he loved Sheldon because of the “tremendous sharing, caring, understanding and tolerance for the individual that is the mainstream of small-town life.

“Everyone cared about everyone else,” he wrote; “everyone shared everyone else’s triumphs and tragedies. Everyone was an important human being, and there aren’t many places in the world where that is true.”

Mike included many stories in his article.

He told of how his father, an outdoorsman, loved the Sandhill country and the rivers in the area.

The first suit Mike owned was secondhand, and he was embarrassed wearing it because he felt everyone recognized it as one once owned by another Sheldon guy.

He said that a “relatively high percentage of the (Sheldon) school’s graduates went on to college even in those difficult times (the late 1930s and early 1940s).”

Mike wrote that though the Ranneys left Sheldon, “I don’t believe that Sheldon has ever left this Ranney.”

He concludes with this observation about life in Sheldon and in the world of small towns in general:

“It is a world in which every single person is a vital part of the community.

“In Sheldon I believe there still exists some rare and vital style of life that is fast disappearing in this modern world.

“Cling to what you have,” Mike advised Sheldonites; “it is priceless – and should be preserved and nurtured for at least another 100 years.”

And that, Neighbors suggests, could go for folks in any town around here.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com