Even though you have been gone for over 15 years, I feel that I owe you a debt of gratitude for your efforts during World War II.
Over the last few weeks, I have been writing about Dad going overseas to fight in the World War II. I realize that I have not mentioned you in my posts.
In reviewing the World War II photos from your collection, I came across several of you and Dad on your honeymoon in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1942. From what I know, you married there shortly before he was shipped out to go to Iran in the Middle East. He was gone for three years until 1945. While I see many pictures from him and his tour during this time, there are very few photos of you, as you stayed back home in Detroit.
This left me wondering what was it like for you to be home waiting for the outcome of the war and the return of your husband? I know you went back home to live with your parents and that you worked as a secretary during that time. But what I don’t know is how you were able to cope with the uncertainty of the situation.
At first, the war was going very badly. I imagine you worried not only about Dad and his safety, but also about what would happen to you and your family if we were to lose the war.
As the war progressed, word began to filter out about the Nazis and their imprisonment and murder of the Jews. I’m not sure if you knew about the concentration camps, but you certainly knew about the discrimination and violence in Germany and throughout Europe. As a Jewish family, you must have felt personally threatened. You also were witnessing brutality of the Japanese empire.
Mom, I know that you and hundreds of thousands of other women contributed mightily to the war effort. Recently, I asked my friends through a popular new computer program, called Facebook, to describe what their mothers did during the war. Their responses were astounding, surprising, and inspiring. Here are a few examples of my friends responses about what our mothers did in the war.
Making parts for bombers; filling mail orders at Sears; lab tech; Army nurse in the battlefield; teaching school; welder in a shipyard; collecting cans for the military soldiers; factory work; raising babies; making radios for the military; learning to fly; bookkeeping; assembling aircraft; serving in the Marines; serving in the Waves; escaping the Holocaust in Germany; studying to be a nun; surviving in a slave labor camp by digging trenches for German soldiers; being sent to an internment camp for American citizens of Japanese descent; working night shifts in factories; collecting scrap metal for the soldiers; working at the USO; escaping the bombing of England; caring for the family; serving in the Red Cross in Italy; working as a riveter in a factory; medical stenographer.
Mom, you were a brave woman, as one of hundreds of thousands of women left behind in the USA who contributed mightily to the war in your own ways. I believe you were one of the unsung heroes who helped to win the war. For you, as for the men who served, this was one of the finest moments of your lives. It is no surprise that you are among those people who we think of as “The Greatest Generation: (Including Women)”.
Dear Readers, this has been such an interesting topic, I would love to hear more about your stories of your mothers and grandmothers in World War II. I hope to write more on this later.