Amid the gruesome horrors of World War II, with its rise of fascist dictators, ethnic genocide and untold war crimes, it can be easy to forget that selfless goodwill not only existed, but flourished right here. in the county of Vigo in some of the darkest days. in history.
The Vigo County History Center presents many photographs that show the heroic actions of our citizens during this period to help the war effort. Soldiers and civilians played a crucial role in the demise of the Axis powers.
When America was thrust headlong into war after the unforeseen attack on Pearl Harbor, it was clear that America would need to conserve all of its resources to bring this terrible war to a speedy conclusion. Agriculture Secretary Claude Wickard encouraged citizens to plant “victory gardens” to increase the food supply with the phrase “Food is ammunition”. Terre Haute resident Mrs. Virginia Irwin showed her green thumb with her son, John, as they posed for a photo as they worked in their victory garden while the men overseas also worked for victory in battle. To emphasize her dedication to the war effort, Virginia formed the letter “V” in the shrubbery for “Victory” and the Morse code symbol for “V” and knelt beside for the photograph. Additionally, the Terre Haute Lions Club has made available over fifty plots for local Victory Gardeners. They plowed and fertilized the land for $4 a plot; a reasonable sum to pay to do their part in the victory abroad.
Another example of enormous selflessness is on full display in a photograph of the women of the Maple Avenue Methodist Church as they packed dozens of Christmas parcels for the “overseas boys” in 1944. these heroines prayed, but knew nothing about it, it was that this would be the last Christmas that our soldiers would spend separated from their homes and their families. After the successful D-Day invasion a few months before, the Allies approached Berlin from all sides; victory was near on the horizon and fast approaching, even if it couldn’t come soon enough.
The U.S. military actively campaigned for Americans to purchase war bonds, which served as a secondary source of income to fund the war effort outside of taxation. Another photograph on display shows dozens of Terre Haute citizens flocking to the local ordinance factory, which produced war materials to be shipped to Allied nations, for a Bond Drive in 1940, at least a year before we have declared war on the Axis powers. Despite our isolationist efforts to avoid sending our soldiers to war, our citizens knew that freedom and justice were in jeopardy around the world, and they stood up for what they believed and made personal sacrifices for these ends. .
These examples are just drops in an ocean of countless quasi-mythical stories that make up our spectacular history. Ours is a history of freedom fighters of which we can be extremely proud.