There was a time in Lansing, and every other small town and city, when there was a junk yard in every neighborhood. At that time we put our old tires and worn out kerosene stoves and anything else no longer used in a place in the back yard to keep the low areas from eroding during a heavy rain. There was no such thing as an organized “land fill” that we have now. As a result our yards are neat and well kept. I love driving in the country and wondering how the homeowners keep their large areas so nicely mowed and beautiful.
During World War II we had scrap metal drives and rubber drives, and it made us feel good to collect the old tires and scrap metal for the war effort. We felt patriotic and it made us feel like we were really doing something to help. Everybody was involved. Mothers and sisters worked in the bomber plants, dads and big brothers and sisters were in the service. That left the kids at home with needing something productive to do. High schools over the country had contests to see how much they could collect to outdo each other. With the small amount of money that was collected in selling tires and scrap metal, they purchased savings stamps and when you got enough saved you could buy a “War Bond.” This helped the economy. Even Bugs Bunny advertised “War Bonds” singing “Buy a Share of Freedom Today.” Those were the days.
Another thing that promoted patriotism was the movies that always had newsreels before the main attraction telling us the war news and music. How we loved the songs like “Rosie the Riveter,” “Defense Factory Blues,” “Remember Pearl Harbor” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree With Anyone Else but Me,” “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,” “When the Light Go on Again,” “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by the Andrews Sisters in 1941. The list goes on and on but they all made us feel good. We had a real love of our Country.
I can’t help but wonder how back then everyone had a job that wanted one, and the unemployment rate was 1.9 percent in 1943, ’44 and ’45. We are in a war now and the unemployment rate is over 9 percent. Why?