History was always one of my favorite subjects in school. I was blessed to have great teachers who brought the subject alive for me in fascinating ways. I remember the entire staff of the history department showing up with black arm bands, a traditional sign of mourning, on December 7th.
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” - President Franklin D. Roosevelt
President Roosevelt spoke these words before Congress, beseeching them to declare war. The United States entered World War II immediately, declaring war against Japan first and within days declaring war against Germany and Italy as well. It is a time in American history which captures the imagination. Lessons on the Homefront, the battlefield and the Holocaust were presented like nothing I had ever studied before. I walked into a lecture on propaganda to find my professor dressed as Hitler, shouting in German with Wagner blaring in the background.
I read stories of the Blitz in London and found myself drawn to the iconic posters reminding the British to “Keep Calm and Carry On”. I have a framed copy hanging in my living room today. I learned the music of the war years from Glen Miller to the Andrews Sisters. From Rosie the Riveter to Victory Gardens, I was captivated by stories of life on the Homefront.
Are you lucky enough to have inherited a scrapbook from this period? What does it mean to you to know what life was like for your family during the war years? I encourage you to tell the story of everyday life in your scrapbook. You just might bring history alive for a future generation!