Three shots and a mask

  • Rosie the Riveter—Rosie the Riveter

Published: 1/18/2022 9:12:57 AM
Modified: 1/18/2022 9:11:53 AM

During the World War II, Americans were asked to make sacrifices. Rationing was not only one of those ways, but it was a way Americans contributed to the war effort.

When the United States declared war after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States government created a system of rationing, limiting the amount of certain goods that a person could purchase. Supplies such as gasoline, butter, sugar and canned milk were rationed because they needed to be diverted to the war effort. War also disrupted trade, limiting the availability of some goods.

Americans received their first ration cards in May 1942. The first card, War Ration Card Number One, became known as the “Sugar Book,” for one of the commodities Americans could purchase with their ration card.

Other ration cards developed as the war progressed. Ration cards included stamps with drawings of airplanes, guns, tanks, aircraft, ears of wheat and fruit, which were used to purchase rationed items.

The OPA rationed automobiles, tires, gasoline, fuel oil, coal, firewood, nylon, silk, and shoes. Americans used their ration cards and stamps to take their meager share of household staples including meat, dairy, coffee, dried fruits, jams, jellies, lard, shortening, and oils.

Americans learned, as they did during the Great Depression, to do without. Sacrificing certain items during the war became the norm for most Americans. It was considered a common good for the war effort, and it affected every American household.

Man if you asked the average American now to do this, they’d protest and whip out some flag or placard. Governors would make mandates. Laws, court battles .

Times indeed have changed. Not the America I grew up in.

During the war, this was poster painted by J. Howard Miller, “Rosie the Riveter.”

This pandemic is a world war. The lives lost, the businesses broken, the lives lost, the divisiveness, the lives lost. Buck up, be an American, three shots and a mask. Is that too much to ask?

Sounds like a blues song.

Jody Scalise



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