ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > ROOTS > 2004-06 > 1086538997
From: "Florence Secor" <>
Subject: [ROOTS-L] WWII
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 12:23:17 -0400
Here is a copy & paste of my previous message sent privately to Tim. A few changes in text and additions have been made.
During WWII emblems were displayed in the living room window or the front door. If there was a gold star, that meant the soldier had been killed in action. I forget the other color for the stars. I am guessing that the silk type emblem was about 14 x 17 inches, with a red border as I recall vaguely.
I worked for Western Union during WWII. When we received a telegram notifying of injured in action one red star was put alongside the addressee's name. If it was missing in action there were 2 red stars. 3 red stars was killed in action. In White Plains, New York, where I worked after Fort Mead, Maryland, if it was an Italian surname, we usually called the priest of the parish address for delivery of the telegram. The stars let the delivery messenger know what type of telegram it was, so he would know how to handle the delivery.
>From Feb. to Aug. 1944 I worked nights for Western Union at Fort. Meade, Maryland. Lived in civilian barracks with showers; without air-conditioning; had laundry room with laundry tubs and ironing boards, clothes wre hung on lines in the laundry room as there were no washing machines or dryers; had civilian mess hall.
The lobby of the Western Union office was always filled with waiting lines outside at night. Most GIs were writing home for money. Johnny Weismueller happened to come thru there. Also across the street was the telephone exchange. When Western Union employees got thru work at 11 p.m. we would see GIs still laying around the yard of the telephone exchange still waiting for their call to be put thru. I think that office was open til midnight. Supper/Dinner was a sandwich consisting of two slices of bread with a choice of lunchmeat or velvetta cheese - no butter. I do not remember about mustard, catsup or mayonaise now.
Fort Meade was a processing center before the boys left for Port of Embarkation. They were usually there for about 10 days, and had night maneuvers while there. I believe that Camp Kilmer, New Jersey was another processing center.
I remember one Sat. night when there were three couples out on a date. The 1st Sgt. of the group had to be at his company at 10 p.m. that night to give a pep talk to the GIs assembled in formation and ready to ship out that evening. In the car the rest of us heard that talk. It didn't mean much to me then as I was only 19, however, today at 79 I have never forgotten that scene. I now wonder what was going through the minds of the GIs assembled there.
On D-Day eve after work some of the Western Union employees happened to go into to Baltimore for some good food. It was then that we found out that it was D-Day. All restaurants were closed. We ate at a deli, which was better food that the mess hall.
Another couple tidbits re Fort Meade, Maryland: There were German prisoners there that were heavily guarded and used for work detail. Used to see them in trucks walking to work. At a Sat. night USO dance at the Guest House, an Italian prisoner asked me to dance. He was wearing a green arm band with Italy in with letters. Apparently, they were free to move about and not heavily guarded.
This is the first year on TV that I have seen much about the pre-D-Day invasion. My husband told about being in an advanced liaison group prior to D-day with no other details. What I have been reading and seeing is that the 82nd & 101st Airborne made a drop about 2 a.m. near St. Mere Eglise. At Sword beach area there was another drop around midnight by the British with gliders and paratroopers. Have received an email from a retired 8th Air Force retiree that there were several other small unit drops (not paratroopers).
The war didn't mean much to me then at 19, but now with age I just don't know how they all did it for their country. Heard a comment recently on TV from a WWII GI that at one time he was not able to change clothes for 38 days. Oh dear. And that makes me wonder about our boys in Iraq.
I believe that ALL Military Men & Women are Heros as they are the ones making the sacrifices, however small they may seem.
|[ROOTS-L] WWII by "Florence Secor" <>|