Monday, December 21, 2015

Victory Florida USO

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. As living history docents for the county, The Colonel and I (Darling-Sister-In-Law was out of town) once again donned costumes to help with the county historical center's program entitled, Victory Florida USO. Victory Florida is a statewide initiative that honors and celebrates local, state and national heroes and heroines of WWII.

Our USO had pretty, patriotic centerpieces on the tables. Every place setting had a box of Cracker Jack for the attendees to eat or take home with them. Cracker Jack has been an American favorite since 1896.

Big Band music played on a sound system while people ate food that became popular in the 1940s. Foods like: S.O.S. (creamed, chipped beef on toast), fruit cocktail, Spam on crackers and Mock Apple Pie (the pie filling was made entirely of Ritz Crackers and tasted like apple pie). There was also a sheet cake for dessert (see picture at beginning of post).

We had a good crowd of attendees. Many of them were veterans and a few were WWII veterans. Some of the veterans danced and one WWII veteran got up to the microphone to tell us all, especially the kids that were there, about how great this country is and that war is not glamorous. He gave a little history lesson about WWII too.

The kids were able to make their own flags that they could take home with them.

The local gardener's club had a display about Victory Gardens and they were handing out packages of cabbage seeds.

Crystal, our boss, came dressed in a "Cracker Jack" style naval suit. Her son was dressed as an aviator.

Crystal's boss came dressed as "Rosie the Riveter". Jackie was the one who made the S.O.S. and Mock Apple Pie. She made some test pies at home and used her husband, who loves apple pie, as a guinea pig...he did not believe her when she told him that there was no apple in the pie.

Jeannie, a docent, came dressed as our "Kissing Booth" girl. She looked like she stepped right out of the 1940s. Her dress and hat were perfect but the most perfect touch were the "Victory Curls" in her hair.

She didn't actually kiss anyone (except one WWII veteran, when The Colonel dared her to), she handed out chocolate kisses and for a small donation she "sold" candy cigarettes, bubblegum cigars and chocolate bars.

The Colonel was dressed as a Block Warden who was "selling", for a donation, war bonds. At the end of the program, the person who was holding the most war bonds won a gift basket full of goodies.

I was dressed as a Red Cross Nurse. I had a table top display that gave the history of the Red Cross. It was very instrumental in the blood donation effort during WWII. The Red Cross also was the entity that contacted the servicemen when their wives back home had delivered a baby. When I gave birth to our daughter in Washington State, it was the Red Cross that contacted The Colonel in Korea, telling him he had a baby girl and that both mother and baby were doing well.

The Victory Florida USO was a hit! Many of the veterans said the food and music brought back fond memories from their pasts. What I enjoyed most was watching the interaction between the generations. Many of the teens who were there as volunteers, sat at the tables of the WWII veterans, listened to their stories and asked thoughtful questions. WWII veterans are a great learning resource for us all, one that is becoming more difficult to find as their numbers dwindle.

"We owe our WWII Veterans - and all our Veterans - a debt we can never fully repay,"

- Doc Hastings (U.S. Representative -Rep. 1995-2015)

1 comment:

  1. You are a priceless gift to your community!
    I adore all your creative costumes!