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September 22: North Dakotans During WWII

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By September 1943, residents in the Red River Valley and across North Dakota had become accustomed to their lives during wartime. The Fargo Forum newspaper featured a daily reminder of the costs of WWII battles as well as activities on and off the war front.

On this date, the paper included several such stories. Two airmen from the state were honored for meritorious service in the Pacific. This same edition carried a message from the War Production Board, announcing that the production of paper bags would be reduced, making grocery shopping a bit more complicated. Due to the increased demand for paper used in packaging essential war materials and food going to the war fronts, the production board said the supply for grocery and variety stores could be cut by thirty percent.

In Bismarck, a War Chest Drive was initiated to collect for the war effort in counties of the state. Detailed planning for each county was underway, with a few counties still needing to register their intent to fulfill their obligations.

Also in Bismarck, a detachment of the seventh ferrying command at the airport appealed to all North Dakotans for old, unwanted radio sets. A commander at the airport said his handymen were interested in using the old radios to set up a public address system at the airfield to relay orders to hanger operations rooms and barracks.

Another effort from 1943 might sound strange to younger listeners – a clothing drive for Russia. Clothing was sought for Russian relief, with donations needed to arrive in the capitol city by the end of September. The state chairman of the effort urged citizens to “dig deep into their closets for old clothes and bedding during the remaining days” of the drive.

And finally, Fargo’s downtown Powers Coffee Shop had an ad enticing thrifty citizens by offering “club” breakfasts starting at just 25 cents.

Dakota Datebook by Steve Stark

Source: The Fargo Forum - September 3, 1943

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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