Remembering civilian efforts in WWII

When the Second World War started, millions of new jobs were soon to be filled by loyal citizens from all walks of life. The newly enlisted men and women needed training and supplies, guns and all the tools of warfare. Guns and ammunition, iron ore and steel had to be produced in our plants and factories. These products were delivered by lake freighters. Each freighter had a full crew. Many jobs were created to keep up with the need for equipment for the war.

Some citizens were not able to serve because of disabilities. Many of those who could not serve took jobs and were an important and valuable part of the war. One very important job was transporting iron ore and other products by freighter over the Great Lakes. The freighters had to carry the equipment from the mines up north through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, down the Detroit River. The locks were so vital to the war effort the freighters were guarded by army barrage balloons and anti-aircraft guns. The freighters were headed to ports in Cleveland and Pittsburgh to be taken by rail to factories and steel mills.

The men who worked the freighters were just a small part of the effort to keep our men in combat fully equipped to fight the war. Many women worked in factories to fill the openings created by those who enlisted for duty. Americans were proud to be a part of helping our troops to win the war. Whether enlisted or civilian, Americans responded to the call to help win the war.

Bruce Leigh

Bay Village

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Volume 6, Issue 13, Posted 9:14 AM, 06.24.2014