Vineyarders who turned on their radios this morning heard that Warsaw had been bombed, and that the incredible war of destruction seemed to have begun in Europe. On the Vineyard the northeast storm of the past few days was clearing, the sun coming through the morning clouds, and the air reviving with all the clarity and sweetness of early fall. Since Sept. 1, 1939, will be remembered long by all mankind, it is better for Vineyarders to be able to remember how the day dawned on the Island.
There have been times in the long years since 1846 when the Vineyard Gazette carried late war news for the information of its readers. Now the war news comes by radio, soon followed by the daily newspapers. This note is printed, therefore, not for information or news, but as a memorandum for future generations who may look through old newspaper pages after they have become yellow and after, one hopes and prays, wars are over.


From the September 8, 1939 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:


Editorial: Our Own Reality

We turn on the radio in the morning and it fills the room with anxious news and alarms. Again and again we subject ourselves to this torrent of the strife and the woes of the world. This is being well informed.
Of course it is a marvelous thing to hear the voice of a ruler in Europe as soon as he has spoken, and to know the death caused by a bomb in Warsaw as soon as it has fallen. But there is a great danger in this marvel, and it is that the world of the radio may bury the real world of our own which is capable still of peace and happiness up to the limit of our own imperfect capacities.
No one can deny the grim reality of the warring forces in Europe, or that it is hard fact which we hear over the radio; yet the fact, unfortunately, is quickly transformed into emotion, and this emotional involvement of ours is not real. Suddenly we find ourselves listening as we listen to a closely contested baseball game or a prize-fight. Our emotions are making a game of it all in spite of our horror. This sort of thing is not real. It is a gross disproportion.
Can anyone doubt that we need to keep alive the normal things of life? It is better to still the terrible words of the radio after a time, and fill our lungs with the fresh air of the Vineyard. Beach plums are ripening, the early morning mists will soon be white, there are daily occupations to be followed through in store or office, on the farm and on the waterfront, September gilds the lands and the sea. This is ours. This is real. And it is a priceless thing to keep just as it is now, life for life’s sake, when elsewhere no such thing is possible.
Everyone is glad to be well informed, but the sheer volume and excitement of information should not be permitted to shake the peaceful pursuits which not many but Americans may now maintain in this world. It is as if we had a trust to keep for all mankind.