December 7, 1941; the headlines in the Omaha World Herald were large, black and ominous.
The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. America was at war!!
Crisis: After the initial shock, Americans, as one, squared their shoulders, tightened their belts and prepared to work. Men went into the Army and the women filled the positions the men left behind.
Everyone, including high school students did whatever was needed. Saturdays they spent gathering up scrap metal to be shipped wherever it was needed. There was no hoarding.
Money enough to buy the factory would not get you a car, as there were not any. Not that it mattered; as gasoline and tires were both rationed. Nylon hose were nonexistent, as nylon was used for making parachutes. Butter, sugar and coffee were rationed. There was no hoarding. Each family was given a coupon book, with coupons depending on the size of the family and for a determined amount of time, meaning one only received their share and not the shares of others.
People had compassion. We were at war, we were in crisis and there was no hoarding. Rather, they shared.
In North Platte, Nebraska, troop trains were going through regularly, so a group of women from the community went to the depot and set up a canteen. There they served coffee, cake and cookies to the soldiers coming through. Word spread and other communities got involved; coming from as far away as southeast Wyoming and northeast Colorado. They shared what they had; giving of their rations and considered it a privilege rather than sacrifice. There was no hoarding. As the trains pulled out they stood and waved and wondered how many would return; but with a good feeling in their hearts that they had perhaps brought a smile to a soldiers face. If only for a little while.
Some would consider the current situation a crisis. What has been going on is shameful, heartbreaking and cowardly. Before limits being put in place, there were some with 2 and 3 carts full of groceries, more than they needed; while the next person arrives to find shelf after shelf empty. Not even a loaf of bread for sandwiches. Stories of the delivery driver being attacked when off-loading his truck. The same people returning to the store day after day, getting their “fair share.”
Shame on us, folks.
Shame on us.
BARBARA HARVEY, Worland
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