September, 1943 began with Labor Day weekend, and then back to school, a reverse of 2018 when our children go back to school before Labor Day. Back in 1943 Superintendent Moore was very concerned about losing high school students to valley mills and other employers. The draft had taken so many young men that, in August, they had announced that young fathers would now have to be called up to meet the military’s needs. Local companies scrambled to replace their drafted employees. Many Girard boys (and some girls, too) who were 16 years old or close had already been hired over the summer. Now, Supt. Moore tried to make a plan that would allow those young workers to attend school and work, too. He wanted the schools to offer “staggered classes” for these students. He was quoted in the September 3rd edition of The Girard News, “If our plan to stagger classes works out, it will permit many of the students to continue their school work and still allow them to spend several hours at their jobs. In this way our Girard youth may continue their education, and at the same time earn some money and help the war effort as well.” Detailed plans would be firmed up after the opening of school on the following Tuesday.
It is hard for us to understand how World War II dominated the lives of everyone in America from late 1941 through 1945. The next edition of The Girard News described the Third War Loan Drive of the year. The goal was to raise $495,120 from Sept. 9th through the 30th. 300 “Bombardiers” (young women) would canvass all homes in the city of Girard during the drive. There was a full page ad in the Girard News that week with the following message, “Today . . . Your country looks to YOU to back the INVASION.”
What invasion would that be? On September 3rd the Allies invaded the Italian mainland for the first time. On September 8th, General Dwight D. Eisenhower publicly announced the surrender of Italy to the Allies. It would not be quite that easy though. The King of Italy had surrendered and had imprisoned Mussolini, the former head of the government of Italy. On September 12th, German Paratroopers rescued Mussolini from captivity and later he would become the head of The Italian Social Republic, a part of Northern Italy which would fight on against the Allies.
The headline of the September 17th edition of the Girard News read “Girard-McDonald Pass One-Third Mark in Bond Drive” “$171,176 in Bond Sales - 14 Days to Complete Drive”
In this same Edition of the News at last a change: Remember that, back in the April 30th Edition of the News, under “Church Notes”, Rev. Maly had posted the following on the Friday following Easter Sunday – “We had excellent attendance last Sunday. Try to keep up the good work. Now that we are started, let us have a fine turnout for the services this Sunday. Dr. Wolff from the Berea Children’s Home will be the Preacher of the morning.” As our church had no secretary back then, Rev. Maly had to provide the information to the newspaper every week. Apparently, he forgot. From the April 30th edition through the September 10th edition, that same message had occurred every Friday, until, at last, a new one on September 17th.
“Sunday School 9:30 – 10:30
Church 10:30 – 11:40
Special Service: The Ladies of the Eastern Star will worship in a special service Sunday morning. Rev. Maly’s message will be ‘The Alpha and the Omega’. All members of the Eastern Star and of the church are cordially invited.”
It is hard to believe that no one thought to tell him during that five month time. Or, maybe someone did see it, and thought, “I wonder how long it will keep on going like this?” Thanks to the ladies of the Eastern Star for requesting a special service, and ending the five months of “keep up the good work” and “Dr Wolff Preacher of the morning”.
We’ll end September of 1943 on a happy note. In that same September 17th edition, the following article: “Carroll-Maggs Marriage is Announced
Mr and Mrs John A Carroll, 123 E Howard St announce the marriage of their daughter, June Virginia to Cpl. William E Maggs, son of Mr and Mrs Garneile Maggs, 157 Churchill Rd, at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on January 7, 1943.”
Our Church Family and Our town during World War II – September, 1943 – Seventy-five years ago.
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