Famous Last Words: Only Hire Professionals!
World War II has been called the "last good war." Unlike the wars of today, the entire country was involved. It dominated my childhood.
Men went off to fight and women took jobs in defense plants turning out planes, Jeeps, tanks and uniforms. My family was involved in selling war bonds and working with the USO to bring Broadway show people to entertain troops at local military bases.
My father wrote the first full-length biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was published on cheapo rationed paper during the Battle of the Bulge, and every evening we gathered around the radio to hear the bombs exploding in London with chilling narration by Edward R. Murrow.
5 Men Who Saved the World
They were: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall and Bill Knudsen.
Bill who??? William Knudsen was the General Motors' genius recruited by Roosevelt to be America's production czar. He transformed American industry into one giant defense factory.
Knudsen's achievement made final victory possible. (Note: I urge you to read "Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II" by Arthur Herman.)
Under Knudsen's direction, more than 300,000 warplanes were produced in just seven years. Included in that number were 12,731 of the greatest bomber in history, the B-17 Flying Fortress. Of those, just 13 are airworthy today. They cost $4,000 an hour to fly.
One of those rare and mighty war birds came to our Northeast Airfield to offer flights to the public (for $450 a person). She was the legendary Memphis Belle, star of the 1990 film with Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, John Lithgow and Harry Connick Jr.
At the right (in the mediaplayer) is the Philadelphia Inquirer ad for this grand event. It pissed me off big time because it is unreadable.