‘Doing our patriotic duty’: Nebraskans recall pitching in during WWII scrap drives – Omaha World-Herald

August 7, 2022 by No Comments

The youngest members of the “Greatest Generation” stepped up in their own way during World War II, collecting scrap metal, rubber, newspaper, even milkweed pods in support of the war effort. Some of them shared their memories of wartime scrap-metal drives, including Henry Doorly’s first competitive drive in the summer of 1942. Here’s a collection of their recollections, which have been edited for style and length:

The comedy team Abbott and Costello was performing at the Orpheum Theater. A teen-aged boy named Jerry Young went to see them and asked them to perform in our neighborhood to assist the war effort. They performed on the back of a flatbed truck parked in the alley between 32nd Avenue and 33rd Street on Martha Street. The street was packed with thousands of people. – Terry Haney, Omaha

I lived in a house with a lower level that was once a bar. It had a cave in it that went down quite far. We found steel beer signs. We somehow put them on the back of our bicycles and drug them all the way to school, 1 mile. – Dolores Buxter, Omaha

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I lived on a farm 1 mile north of Uehling. Old discarded farm machines would have been parked around farm buildings or dumped into a ditch on the farm. We hauled these items and old cans and nails — anything of metal — into Uehling, where the railroad had parked an open train car that I remember was piled high with scrap metal. – Eldon Gustafson, Omaha

I remember searching through every farm shelterbelt or vacated places on farms for anything that resembled metal or rubber. I don’t remember if there was any monetary compensation, but people were just happy to do their part. – Joseph Reestman, Oakdale

The main street in Blair had a very large collection of scrap metal. I was poking around in the pile. I saw coffee pots, toasters, and frying pans — things we used every day at my house, and here it was. Gulp! This was probably my moment to realize the seriousness of the war. – Ruth Muchemore, Omaha

I lived in Malvern, Iowa. If we would bring 5 pounds of scrap metal to the theater, we could see the movie for free. I remember it clearly because I took some things my mother wanted to keep, and it was a long time before she let up on me about it. At least I got to keep my dime. – Lois Wohlner, Omaha

Mom worked at the Martin Bomber Plant. My brother and I were in grammar school at Rose Hill in Benson. Our school kids collected scrap metal from all over town and piled it on the school fence at 56th and Corby. No door went un-knocked, and every empty lot was checked for scrap metal. We took it to school in wagons. – William Brandt, Papillion

The kids in the Minne Lusa neighborhood scrounged vacant lots and garages for scrap metal. Our greatest find was at the end of North 24th Street down to Pershing Road. We found most of our scrap metal in car parts. The road to Hummel Park was also great for finding abandoned cars and parts. We felt we were doing our patriotic duty. – Bob Murray, Omaha

We took a wagon and searched the neighborhood for scrap metal so we could get into the Lothrop Theater (in …….

Source: https://omaha.com/news/local/history/doing-our-patriotic-duty-nebraskans-recall-pitching-in-during-wwii-scrap-drives/article_8f79957e-1408-11ed-96cd-1715ebdc0cde.html


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