Gotham City, like most large cities, had a fashionable district favored by the young upwardly mobile of its citizenry. In Gotham’s fashionable district was a bar called The Ice Floe, which was lavishly decorated with an Antarctic motif. Many of Gotham’s young bankers, lawyers, and brokers could be found in this upscale drinkery any given night in the week. Today it was early afternoon, and the bar was officially closed. The owner and proprietor was there, however, watching a special TV program with an old friend of his.
“Another beer, Bob?” asked the proprietor, a short chubby man with a balding head.
“Sure, Ozzie,” said Bob, a middle-aged man who tipped the scale at three-hundred pounds. “And maybe another basket of cheese fries.”
Ozzie clucked his tongue as he drew the beer. “If you don’t mind my saying so, Bob, you should take better care of yourself.”
Bob sighed. “I know, Ozzie, but what can I say? My brain was in a robot’s body for forty years. In all that time, all the basic human pleasures were denied me. Since I got a human body again, I’ve been making up for lost time.”
“I think I know what you mean,” said Ozzie as he pushed the beer mug across the bar to Bob. “Prison is like that. Spending so much time in prison, denied the little freedoms I so dearly loved, is what straightened me out. My last stretch, I did twenty years. Enough was enough. Red Robin spoke at my parole hearing, even helped get me set up with this bar. Awfully decent, considering how many times I had tried to kill him.”
“Hey, the program is starting,” Bob said, turning to the TV screen. The commercial on the screen ended, and the program they were waiting for began. Proud music trumpeted over a background of the American flag.
“Welcome to the first annual Justice Society of America Day!” an announcer’s voice said over the screen. The scene then changed to a smartly dressed man and an elegant woman seated side by side, smiling at the camera. The man was entering early middle age and bore a resemblance to the old actor, Fred MacMurray.
“Hello, and thanks for joining us!” the man said amiably. “I’m Will Batson, your host for today’s festivities. My charming co-host is retired journalist Lois Lane Kent, famous for her coverage of the exploits of Superman. Welcome, Lois.”
“Thanks, Will,” Lois said sweetly, her pregnant belly evident beneath her conservative clothing. “As we all know, the first meeting of the Justice Society of America was on November 22, 1940. While that date was originally proposed as JSA Day, a different date was proposed so it wouldn’t conflict when Thanksgiving falls on that day, not to mention that JFK was assassinated on that day in 1963. Instead, today’s date — July 18th — was picked in order to commemorate what many consider to be the Justice Society’s greatest wartime case, when on that day in 1942 they left for Occupied Europe to provide food to the Resistance. (*) As such, it has been declared a legal holiday by a unanimous vote in Congress.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Food for Starving Patriots,” All-Star Comics #14 (December, 1942-January, 1943).]
“Wow! Not too often all those guys agree on anything, is it?” Batson joked.
“No it’s not, Will,” Lois answered. “Fortunately, they agreed on this. The holiday was proposed by Senator Martin Horwitz of New York. In 1944, when Senator Horwitz was ten years old, Dr. Mid-Nite saved him from a gang of boys who were assaulting him because of his religion. Mid-Nite then took the boy to meet the Justice Society of America. Horwitz has been a big JSA booster ever since.”
“But who among us isn’t, Lois?” Will asked. “Time and again they’ve saved the world from threats like the Wizard, the Ultra-Humanite, and the Injustice Society of the World. We all owe them a big debt of gratitude.”
The scene on the TV screen switched to a parade rolling down a city street. Floats depicting famous battles of the JSA, past and present members, and other JSA-related ephemera went past cheering crowds. The cheers became deafening as the main float, carrying three famous passengers, went past.
“Well, Civic City is showing the JSA how much it appreciates them,” Lois’ voiceover came over the scene. “The city, where the JSA had their headquarters from 1949 to 1951, is holding a parade down Main Street in the JSA’s honor! The three heroes who have served as the Justice Society’s chairman — the Flash, Green Lantern, and the Hawkman — are the guests of honor in the parade!”
The scene changed to a green park filled with flowering trees. Brilliant marble statues of past heroes stood in noble poses in the park. Batman was represented there, as were Green Arrow, Mister Terrific, the Crimson Avenger and Wing, the Red Bee, and others.
“On a more somber note,” Batson’s voice said, “Gotham City, where the JSA Brownstone is located, is today opening Heroes Park. This public facility is dedicated to the memory of those members of the JSA and other heroes who have fallen in battle, including Gotham’s own Batman. Batman’s former partner, Red Robin, will be on hand for the opening ceremonies, as will Superman and the Patriot.”
Once more the scene changed, this time to a modern-looking building of gleaming chrome and glass. Crowds of people were gathered outside; a large red ribbon was drawn across the door.
“From a memorial of the past to a vision for the future,” Lois’ voice announced, “today also sees the opening of the All-Star Youth Center in New York City. This center will give young people from all walks of life a place to be as an alternative to gangs, and give them a chance to explore and nurture their own talents. The Atom, Doctor Mid-Nite, and Wildcat will be here to cut the ribbon.”
Somewhere, someone watched all three scenes simultaneously on special monitors. A lithe-bodied young woman in a costume and mask that left none of her skin uncovered, she sat with fingertips resting on chin, waiting for something to begin.
“Enjoy your day in the limelight, Justice Society,” the woman said, sneering the word Justice as though it were something distasteful to her. “It won’t last long.”