December 1941 to September 1945
Like “Rosie the Riveter” of the popular song, thousands of Minnesota women don coveralls and take manufacturing jobs to support the war effort. From the home to the field to the factory, everyone pitches in.
As the wartime government promotes women in the workforce, companies distribute brochures offering “Equal Pay for Equal Work.” By 1944, 31.5% of eligible women are employed nationwide; in Saint Paul so many women work the late shift that the YWCA organizes dances that begin at 1:00 in the morning.
Minnesota companies transition as well: Munsingwear makes military garments; Crown Iron Works makes portable bridges and pontoons; Andersen Corporation makes prefab huts; Honeywell makes precision instruments like gunsights; and the Northern Pump Company builds a new plant in 3 months—”the finest machine shop on the globe”—and with 7,000 employees becomes the largest supplier of munitions for the navy.
Children also participate. Minnesota Memo to Women reports in 1943 that “twelve year old Mary Helen Spillane of Backus has purchased a $25.00 War Bond each month since Pearl Harbor. War Bonds will put Helen through college. (Lucky Helen!)” *
Can we stop a moment and ponder how World War II changed those who remained at home with You, dear Father? Before we enter the gates of that question, let’s consider the complexity and immensity of Your thoughts on Justice throughout the ages. We thank You that though You may be perceived by some to be a Vengeful G-d of War and ordainer of the battles of Israel and the Church, that You are also known as the Prince of Peace.
How can this be? We can fail to recognize the paradoxical truths of Your nature though surrounded by examples of them everyday. We can relate to You as parents who strive to live peaceful lives, yet robustly defend and discipline of our children from evil. We may defend them from violent external attacks, offer them a new perspective in their self-imposed accusations, and teach them to reject lies and practice emotional discipline in their thinking.
Do we categorize ourselves as “Humans of Vengeance” as often as we mislabel You as the “Old Testament G-d of Vengeance”? Do we recognize that love can vigorously defend innocence from the vile, and the kind-hearted from the cruel? You know us Lord; we do both. Our love is too soft at times, and our “tough love” can be too tough. Have mercy as we contemplate Your Nature below:
“’The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ “ ** NLT Numbers 14:18
In an age consumed with the virtues of non-judgment and denial of good and evil, we give You honor as the only Judge who Brings Eternal Justice. With the prophet Isaiah, we remember Your promise to: “shew from the beginning the things that shall be at last, and from ancient times the things that as yet are not done, saying: ‘My counsel shall stand, and all my will shall be done’… *** Douay-Rheims Bible Isaiah 46:10
And that seems to expose the root of our human problems that lead to war: we want our will to be done, not Yours. The leaders of a society reflect the beliefs and misbeliefs of that society. States and nations that have rejected Your prudential will necessarily reject the image of G-d in their neighbor. Will You forgive us when and where we have longed for the destruction of our enemies as individuals, and collectively as families, tribes, peoples, and nations?
For the men who served; Your will be done.
For the men who remained at home; Your will be done.
For the women who stepped up and built our war materiel; Your will be done.
For the children who lost time with their mothers and fathers as Minnesota participated in WWII; Your will be done.
For the children who took leadership to defend our Republic in ways large and small; Your will be done.
For Minnesota’s companies, large and small, who offered their skills: Munsingwear, Crown Iron Works, Andersen Corporation, Honeywell, Northern Pump Company, and many others unnamed, yet worthy; Your will be done.
For those who bought War Bonds, or financially contributed to the defense of our unalienable rights; Your will be done.
For the ways and practices of separation and sin we have learned from our participation in World War II, we confess our wrongs, and ask that You remove the curses of these sins in the present. May we bless the future, where we aligned with Your will in standing against the ideals of Fascism, Stalinism, and the defiance of Your Dominion over humanity.
May we reject the mantra of the Enemy in Minnesota; “My will be done” that leads to evil and death!
May we say together presently and beyond; “Thy kingdom come and thy will be done” so that we may have peace and life!
* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!