Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the US. Every year I pause and remember what sacrifices people have made just so I have the freedom to pause and remember.
But this year I have a whole new appreciation for sacrifices because of my research for the Pilot Mountain School project. I have worked my way through the 1930's newspapers and the growing international threats. I've finally made it to 1942. I'm deep into the war effort at this school and I am blown away by the sacrifices here on the home front. I never imagined the teachers were called upon to do so much above and beyond teaching class. They implemented the programs that the president and Congress enacted.
I know this not just because of the newspaper articles, although reading those did clarify a few things. I know it more because I heard first hand from the now grown children in their classes. They told about registering for ration coupons at the school. The teachers did that, on a table in the hall, on a Saturday. They told about bringing scrap metal, having it weighed, and earning a sweat shirt when they reached a certain amount. The teachers did the weighing, bookkeeping, and the awarding. They told about buying war bonds, one nickel or dime at a time to fill their booklets slowly, slowly until they were complete. The teachers took up the money, kept the booklets and awarded the bond. The teachers lectured on Victory Gardens. They taught about blackouts and air raids. They calmed first grade fears. They encouraged sixth grade patriotism.
My Memorial Day was for the home front war effort. Well worth remembering.