Newark During WW II - 1940s

by Seymour Pierce

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As the whole country went to war, so of course did Newark. Defense plants were opening all over New Jersey. Newark, Harrison, Kearny and many other cities became "defense plants" towns. Salaries JUMPED to $1.00 an hour. Many took these jobs until our time came to enter the service.

Before, during and after World War II, in the 40's these are recollections:

We had "practice blackouts". All lights were turned off or dark shades on the windows. Post Office, Police, and Emergency vehicles could proceed with care with dim lights.

On Green Street, across from City Hall, we had our Newark USO version of a "Hollywood Canteen". It was attended by young ladies and we could relax, dance and get a bite to eat, when in uniform, on leave. The Continental Ballroom on Broad Street held dances.

Service people were always welcomed in all "houses of worship" and could visit any Salvation Army building (Washington Street near Central Avenue) for assistance. Many items were RATIONED. Some, requiring coupon books were gasoline, meat, sugar, leather shoes, & nylons. There were blood drives.

School children were buying 10 cent savings stamps. Famous Actors, athletes, were all out selling WAR BONDS. These are mainly examples of what was happening on the home front, in towns and cities all over the United States.

The real, heroic stories and sacrifices are those events that were going on during World War II, all over the world. These were chronicled by writers Tom Brokaw, Ambrose, Terkel and many others. This is being written on the day that courageous young heroes died in the terrible Shuttle disaster. As the President said in a sad voice "they have come home" .

Peace, Seymour Pierce .


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