The Herald Bulletin

September 15, 2013

Historical Society's WWII exhibit gives a feel for the homefront

By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Sure, school history books cover the events of World War II, but have you ever wondered what it was like here in Anderson during that time period?

If you answered yes, you can get a glimpse at the Madison County Historical Society's World War II exhibit until Sept. 27.

While many citizens of Madison County became soldiers and went off to war, those left behind worked to support them in various ways. This year, the Historical Society, 15 W. 11th St., decided to focus on that homefront effort.

The exhibit features manufactured items from General Motors' Delco Remy and Guide Lamp plants, like the liberator pistol that was dropped behind European lines for the French underground, exhibit creator Bill Knepp said. The liberator had one bullet French soldiers would use against Germans to steal their guns and continue fighting.

Other items on display include pictures of VJ Day, when Anderson's downtown was packed, and blue star flags. Each blue star represented a family member in the military while a gold star indicated a death, Knepp said.

He talked about the rations given, like three gallons of gas per week, that he's "not sure people could handle" today.

Toys and many other items were made out of wood or paper because metal was needed for weapons and equipment. The toys on display are the “kind of toy you'd give a kid today and they’d ask ‘What do I do with this? It’s broken,'" Knepp said.

“I hope people realize the sacrifices people made for their country," he said. "Of course, the soldiers made sacrifices, but the people that stayed here made a lot of sacrifices, too.”

The exhibit has attracted nearly 150 people so far, but Knepp added he would like to see more school-aged children.

The exhibit is free and open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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