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Remembering the Ladies...

Celebrating the Contributions of Women in Uniform

WAVES Recruitment Poster(Published July 2007)

With America’s supply of able-bodied men at an ebb, President Roosevelt looked to the women of the WAVES to turn the tide of the Second World War.

Experts estimated that a force of some nine million would be needed to defeat the Axis powers. Most war planners anticipated a manpower shortage given the extraordinary demand for soldiers and sailors—as well as the continued need for men to perform non-military support duties.

The Roosevelt administration’s solution was, in part, to recruit an unprecedented number of women to tackle non-combat duties as varied as secretarial work, machine repair, and even code breaking. At Treasure Island in San Francisco, women served as gunnery instructors, teaching sailors how to shoot anti-aircraft guns.

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Raising the Standard This Flag Day

Wright Museum’s June Display Devoted to N.H. Native at Iwo Jima

Flag Raising at Iwo Jima(Published June 2007)

Had it not been for a breakdown in communication, Manchester’s Rene Gagnon might never have been immortalized in one of American history’s most iconic images.

Private First Class Gagnon was among the six Americans who raised the Old Glory atop Mt. Suribachi in February 1945 during the prolonged Battle of Iwo Jima. But this wasn’t part of the original plan.

Prior to the raising, radio contact between the base of the mountain and its summit had broken down, and Gagnon was given the task of restoring communications. What happened next was a combination of extraordinary heroism and a matter of being in the right place at the right time. The fact that photographer Joe Rosenthal was there to capture the moment on film would forever alter the course Gagnon’s life.

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The Secret History of General MacArthur’s Wet Ankles

General MacArthur's Wet Ankles(Published October 2008)

The photo is one of the most famous from WWII: General Douglas MacArthur striding resolutely through the knee-deep waters of Leyte Gulf making his promised return to the Philippines. He is leaning slightly forward, the momentum of the event propelling him to his destiny. His lips are pulled tight. Although his eyes are obscured by dark glasses, his gaze is doubtless fixed upon the land he promised to liberate 17 months earlier.

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1941 Lehman Brother Cadillac on View at Wright Museum

1941 Cadillac(Published September 2008)

New York Governor and longtime Lehman Brothers partner Herbert Lehman was a staunch New Deal Democrat who considered himself to be a champion of the common man in the same manner as his friend FDR.

But he had a thing for Cadillacs. Big ones.

The Wright Museum of WWII History in Wolfeboro will be exhibiting Governor Lehmnan’s fully-restored 1941 Fleetwood model Cadillac through the end of October. The vehicle is on short-term loan from a local private collection.

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From WWII Surplus to an American Classic

WWII Harley Davidson MotorcycleThe Story of the Harley Davidson WLA

(Published June 2008)

Chalk it up to the law of unintended consequences, but the demands of wartime production in the 1940s would help spawn the post WWII biker culture captured in films such as Rebel Without a Cause and Easy Rider.

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