• The National WWII Museum Blog
dividing bar

SciTech Tuesday: Zyklon B

On June 20, 1922 a German company filed for a patent on a new formulation of a pesticide/insecticide, which it called Zyklon B (zyklon is German for cyclone).

After its first use as a pesticide in California citrus plantations in the late 19th century, hydrogen cyanide came to be used in all sorts of circumstances as a fumigant. In the US it was used to fumigate train cars, the clothes of immigrants, and in Germany it was used to kill lice and rats. In WWI, a form of hydrogen cyanide, known as Zyklon, used as a chemical weapon by the German military.

After WWI this form of hydrogen cyanide was banned. The scientists at a German chemical company came up with a new formulation, getting the cyanide from the waste products of sugar-beet production, and packaged the hydrogen cyanide with diatomaceous earth in a canister, along with a chemical irritant to warn of the product’s toxicity. They called it Zyklon B to differentiate it from the earlier, banned, product. From 1922 to the start of the war, most of the sales came from outside of Germany.

Hydrogen cyanide is a very potent toxin. It binds with the iron compound in an enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase in cells. This enzyme is necessary in production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is required by cells in energy transfer. Without ATP cells cannot survive, and without cytochrome c oxidase cells can’t make ATP. Hydrogen cyanide reacts with cytochrome c oxidase and keeps it from making ATP. In aerial forms, such as Zyklon B, it enters the body quickly. In a human of about 150 lbs only 70 milligrams of Zyklon B can be fatal in 2 minutes.

In 1941 the German SS was experimenting with methods of efficiently killing prisoners. A captain tested Zyklon B on a group of Russian POWs at Auschwitz in a building basement. By early 1942 Zyklon B became the SS’s preferred method for killing prisoners, and was used to kill at least 1 million prisoners. Many of these were at Auschwitz, where the practice originated.

Two of the scientists who developed managed Zyklon B production were tried and executed in British military court for knowingly delivering the chemical to kill prisoners.  Different forms of hydrogen cyanide are still used today as pesticides.

 

Posted by Rob Wallace, STEM Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.

all images from Wikimedia Commons

Match ‘Em Bond for Bomb

Novelty items lampooning our enemies were popular in wartime America. Banks, hardware stores and restaurants used this material to advertise their services. This matchbook features the menu for Mandell’s Restaurant on Baltimore Street at Calvert in Baltimore, Maryland. The back cover features cartoon of Hitler with striking pad on his trousers. The front cover bears inscription “Strike at the seat of trouble. Buy war bonds.”  Mandell’s offered a “whole half of crispy crunchy fried chicken served unjointed without silverware, gobs of shoestring potatoes, hot buttered rolls.” Yum!

Post by Curator Kimberly Guise.

Home Front Friday: Man’s Best Friend

Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Today is National Take Your Dog to Work Day, in honor of our favorite furry friends who have been by our sides for centuries!

World War II was no exception to our dogs’ special companionship. Many American animals were enlisted in the war effort alongside their humans. These service animals became known as the Loyal Forces, and were utilized by every branch of the U.S. military, with 20,000 dogs serving in the war.

The Loyal Forces provided a variety of services. War dogs were trained to sniff out bombs, carry messages, act as scouts, and boost morale for servicemen. Many of them were pets volunteered by their owners for services such as Dogs for Defense.

Snafu, a U.S. Navy Mascot

Snafu, a U.S. Navy Mascot

Mascot of the escort carrier USS Baltic Sea

Mascot of the escort carrier USS Baltic Sea

Solomon Islands

Andy, a two year old Doberman Pinscher, sees action on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, November 1943

Here are some stories about a few famous dogs of World War II:

  • Chips: This German Shepherd-Collie-Siberian Husky mix was the most decorated dog of World War II. Chips saw action in France, Italy, North Africa, and Germany, and even served as sentry for the Roosevelt-Churchill conference in 1943. He helped take 10 Italians prisoner after escaping from machine gunners during the invasion of Sicily. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart; however, these awards were later revoked due to an Army policy preventing official commendation of animals. His unit later unofficially awarded him 8 battle stars for his campaigns. His story was later adapted into a TV movie by Disney.
Chips

Chips in Italy, 26 November 1943

 

  • Smoky: Smoky was a little Yorkshire terrier found by an American soldier in a foxhole in New Guinea. She was sold to Corporal William A. Wynne, who carried her in his backpack throughout the Pacific. Wynne credited Smoky with saving his life by warning him of incoming shells – she warned him to duck just as enemy fire took out eight men standing next to Wynne. Smoky was also used to run a telegraph wire through a narrow pipe, a feat which saved 250 ground crewmen and kept 40 planes flying. Smoky has been awarded numerous medals and has had many memorials dedicated to her throughout the United States.
  • Judy: Judy was a Pointer that served aboard the HMS Grasshopper and HMS Gnat, where she was able to provide advanced warnings for enemy fire. When the Grasshopper sank, Judy was able to find water for the surviving crewmen on a nearby deserted island. Judy and the survivors eventually became prisoners of war, where Judy was listed as an official POW – the only dog of World War II to be listed as such. While being held prisoner, Judy saved several passengers aboard transport ships from drowning.

Click here to learn more about animals during the war and read an excerpt from Lindsey F. Barnes and Toni M. Kiser’s Loyal Forces: The American Animals of World War II!

So what can you do to show your little buddy you care? Why not make some delicious homemade dog treats? Keep reading to find out how:

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce or mashed banana
  • ¼ cup vegetable, chicken or beef stock
  • Cookie cutter

13180973_10205955603520816_1959429525_n

STEPS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine flour, peanut butter and apple sauce in a large mixing bowl. Add stock and stir until well-combined. The dough will be thick. Once combined use your hands to press the dough into a ball.13140552_10205955603600818_1183464147_n
  3. Place dough ball on a flat service (with a sprinkle of flour if needed) and roll out evenly with a rolling pin. Dough should be about ¼ inch thick. 13162492_10205955604000828_1293703044_n
  4. Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough into desired shape and place on an ungreased baking sheet.13149869_10205955605080855_1259862914_n
  5. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Store in an airtight container.13141122_10205955605840874_1411567973_n
  6. Give to your dog!13181205_10205957279042703_2127872614_n 13183198_10205957278962701_799430150_n

Thanks to Brittany Mullins at eatingbirdfood.com for the recipe!

Posted by Katie Atkins, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

 

Remembering Bert Stolier

Bet Stolier holding a photo of himself during his World War II service.

Bert Stolier holding a photo of himself during his WWII service.

The National WWII Museum offers a final salute to Bert Stolier, who died Monday, June 13, 2016. He was 97, and the longest-serving WWII-veteran volunteer at the Museum.

When The National D-Day Museum opened on June 6, 2000, Stolier joined a group of WWII veterans known as the “A-Team”—a band of seven WWII-veteran volunteers who enthusiastically helped staff our budding Speakers Bureau and volunteered daily at the Museum, sharing with visitors their firsthand experiences of World War II.

“Bert’s imprint on this museum will never be forgotten,” said Museum president and CEO Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD. “He displayed a great spirit and added meaning to the visits of our guests from around the world. He was a man with a big heart and great passion for our nation and this museum. We will all miss him terribly.”

A New Orleans native, Stolier enlisted in the US Marine Corps on February 7, 1940, reporting to boot camp in San Diego. During World War II, he served on the USS Northampton (CA-26) and survived its sinking off of Guadalcanal. He went on to serve aboard the USS Atlanta (CL-104), which was off of Honshu when Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945. Stolier returned to New Orleans after the war and worked as a clothing salesman, then as proprietor with his wife Marian of a string of Swensen’s ice-cream parlors.

In 2000, Stolier began his volunteer service at The National D-Day Museum, and for the last 16 years of his life served the institution that became known as The National WWII Museum. He was a recipient of the Museum’s Silver Service Medallion in 2015 in recognition of his patriotic service during the war years and in retirement. He has also been honored with a dedicated seat in the Solomon Victory Theater and a commemorative brick in the Campaigns of Courage pavilion. And of course, he lives on in the hearts and memories of the many staff members and visitors whose lives he touched.

Semper fidelis, Bert.

 

Visitation will be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp Funeral Home, 1600 N. Causeway Boulevard in Metairie, Louisiana. A chapel service follows at 2:45 p.m., during which the Museum’s Victory Belles vocal trio will sing Stolier’s favorite song, “Smile.” A private 4:00 p.m. graveside service will follow at Gates of Prayer Cemetery, 1411 Joseph Street in New Orleans.

SciTech Tuesday: The Radiation Lab

Today we see wealthy entrepreneurs funding research to cure or eradicate diseases (e.g. Bill Gates with malaria and polio) or to explore space (Elon Musk and SpaceX). In the WWII-era, there was a wealthy entrepreneur and self-trained physicist who did the same, but he is pretty unknown today.

Alfred Lee Loomis was born to wealthy parents in Manhattan in 1887. His parents separated when he was young, and his father died while he was at Yale studying math and science. His cousin Henry Stimson, who served in presidential cabinets from Taft to Truman, was an older mentor to him. Loomis graduated from Harvard Law School in 1912 and joined a prominent corporate law firm. He did very well at the firm but was not overly excited by the work. When the US entered World War I, Loomis joined and was made captain–he was assigned to the Aberdeen proving ground. While there he devised a device to measure the velocity of ballistics leaving a muzzle. He worked alongside scientists who helped him develop his interest in experimenting in theoretical and practical physics.

After the war Loomis didn’t return to the law but began investment banking. With a partner he developed the concept of holding companies and consolidated electric utility companies, developing power infrastructure on the East Coast. Much of his practice would be deemed insider trading under today’s regulations. In 1928 Loomis believed that the stock market was very overvalued and removed his money and his firms’ capital from the market, converting it to cash. After the crash they reinvested in stocks while their price was very low–his wealth increased exponentially at a time when many people lost all theirs.

Loomis used his wealth to pursue his scientific interests, and to support other science research. In particular, as the 1930’s progressed, he began to support the development of technologies that might support a US war industry. He developed a large lab complex near his mansion in Tuxedo Park in New York. The work there focused on brain waves, and electromagnetic waves.

By 1940, Loomis was very focused on preparation for the coming war. In the absence of government funding of important research, he decided to step in. He opened a new lab on the campus of MIT. Hoping for some obfuscation, he named it The Radiation Lab, hoping to confuse it with the new Radiation Lab at UC Berkeley, run by Ernest Lawrence. Although funded by Loomis, the lab operated under first the National Defense Research Committee, and then later the Office of Scientific Research and Development, in both cases directed by Vannevar Bush.

The ‘Rad Lab’ as it was called, focused on parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that could be used to transmit and receive information. When the Tizard Mission sent British technology and research results to the US, they went to the Rad Lab. They used magnetrons to create high energy waves and developed new radar technology as a result. The 10 cm radar that resulted from this research was used in planes and ships and military bases throughout the war. Nine scientists from the Rad Lab went on to receive Nobel Awards.

After World War II the Rad Lab closed, and its operations, still funded by the government, became part of the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT. Loomis was always a very private man, and preferred to operate in the background. In 1945 he divorced his wife, who was suffering from dementia, and remarried. There was a huge society scandal as a result. Loomis sold his properties and led a quiet domestic life until he died in 1975. He refused to give interviews. Perhaps this is why his story, and the story of the Radiation Lab, is little-known.

Posted by Rob Wallace, STEM Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.

Home Front Friday: Disney Goes to War

Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Yesterday was Donald Duck Day, in honor of one of Walt Disney’s most beloved characters, and a very special character for the Museum as well!

Did you know that Donald Duck starred in some of his very own propaganda cartoons during World War II? It’s true! Between 1942 and 1945, Walt Disney was hard at work making propaganda cartoons for the U.S. government. In fact, Disney made cartoons for every branch of the military! The government looked to him more than any other studio head to help build public morale. Over 90% of Disney employees were devoted to the production of training and propaganda films for the government.

Propaganda cartoons served a variety of different purposes. They were often used to boost morale on the home front and to encourage the public to support the war effort. Many beloved characters, including Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and Popeye set aside their entertainment shticks and instead urged audiences to band together and pool their resources to defeat the Axis. World War II really did call on every American to participate – even our cartoon characters!

Here are some of Donald Duck’s messages to the American public during the war:

 

    • The New Spirit (1942). This cartoon was made to encourage Americans to pay their taxes promptly and fully so as to support the war effort. Donald, at first hesitant to fork over his money, eventually comes around and realizes how important his funds are to keeping the military stocked with ammo and weapons.

  • The Spirit of ’43 (1943). This short is a sequel to 1942’s The New Spirit. After Donald receives his weekly salary, he is confronted by the classic Shoulder Angel and Shoulder Devil. The Good Duck urges him to save the money so he will be able to pay his taxes, while the Bad Duck tries to get him to blow it all immediately. It asks Americans, “Will you save for your taxes or spend for the Axis?”

  • Der Führer’s Face (1943). Donald has a terrible nightmare in which he wakes up in Nutzi Land, where he is forced to work himself to exhaustion for the Führer! This cartoon is named after a popular Spike Jones song of the era, which appears in the short, as sung by ridiculous caricatures of Goebbels, Göring, Himmler, Tōjō, and Mussolini.

Don’t forget to check out Disney’s other propaganda cartoons, as well as cartoons from other beloved studios such as Warner Brothers, MGM, and Paramount!

Posted by Katie Atkins, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

Get in the Scrap! Wrap-Up

The school year has officially reached a close, and with that came the end to the first year of The National WWII Museum’s Get in the Scrap! service learning program on May 31. This project, which took each school about 1 to 3 months to complete, focused on the importance of recycling and conserving energy today through explanation of why scrapping was so important on the Home Front during the World War II era. This program offered students from fourth to eighth grade a parallel to the lives of students their age during the war.

withstickers

Get in the Scrap! called students to save items like water bottles and pennies as well as encouraged them to read primary sources about school salvage drives to collect rubber, steel, plastic, and paper on the American Home Front. These items were used to create weapons, supplies, and other necessities that the soldiers required to fight in both the European and Pacific Theaters. Some students who participated in Get in the Scrap! took a creative approach to the scrapping effort by decorating light switch plates and crafting with their left over water bottles.

Others found their competitive sides in a Penny War, which was one of the most popular activities for the schools. The Penny War is a one-week long competition to see which class could save the most pennies, and at the end of the week they could donate their savings to a charity of their choice or invest in purchasing new recycling bins for their school. At LT Ball Intermediate School in Tipp City, Ohio, the students who completed the Penny War donated their savings to the Honor Flight, which is a non-profit organization that helps veterans travel to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials and monuments dedicated to their service.

Overall, Get in the Scrap! had a positive impact on all of the participants. Many teachers reported back that their classes had become more environmentally aware. Some even took what they had learned and applied it outside of the classroom by asking their parents to buy recycle bins for their homes. Other teachers said that this project significantly drew their students’ interest to World War II history. Chesapeake Academy had a WWII veteran come in a speak with the students about life both the Home Front and battlefronts during the war.

Get in the Scrap! will pick up again with the new school year this coming September. You’ll find more photos and successes of our students who participated this past year using the hashtag #getinthescrap on Twitter or Instagram. Sign up for the Museum’s monthly e-newsletter “Calling all Teachers!” for the latest Get in the Scrap! news and project updates.

Post by Camille Weber, Education Intern and Chrissy Gregg, Virtual Classroom Coordinator

  • Posted :
  • Post Category :

Explore the War in the Pacific with These Summer Reading Titles

Summer is approaching, so this month’s Calling All Teachers e-newsletter features recommended reading for you and your students.

Two of the featured titles – Graham Salisbury’s Under the Blood-Red Sun and Jonathan Fetter-Vorm’s Trinity – explore World War II in the Pacific. Another – Tanita Davis’s Mare’s War – chronicles one fictional veteran’s experiences in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC).

Since the Museum has hosted webinars with these authors, you and your students can view the archived programs here.

The June Calling All Teachers e-newsletter also provides a recap of the Get in the Scrap! Service Learning Project, which ended its inaugural year May 31. The newsletter also highlights the entertaining and educational end-of-the-year and summertime activities that you can find in the Museum’s Kids Corner.

Finally, this month’s Calling All Teachers shines the spotlight on D-Days in Europe and the Pacific. D-Day was the military term used to indicate the date for a planned assault, and on June 15, 1944, just days after the Allied capture of Rome and the Normandy invasion, US troops invaded Saipan in the Mariana island chain. The target was an air base that would bring the Japanese home islands within range of B-29 Superfortress bombers.

American forces followed the invasion of Saipan with amphibious assaults on the Mariana islands of Tinian and Guam. By examining these Pacific D-Days alongside the more famous D-Day in Normandy, students can develop a better sense of the war’s scale and complexity. Bringing the war in the Pacific to your students will also become a lot easier through new resources the Museum is about to release. Stay tuned for more details next month!

Get more classroom resources and ideas by signing up for our free monthly e-newsletter Calling All Teachers and following us on Twitter @wwiieducation.

Post by Dr. Walter Stern, K-12 Curriculum Coordinator at The National WWII Museum. 

  • Posted :
  • Post Category :

American Spirit Awards 2016 | American Spirit Medallion Recipients

asa-whitney-logo white

The American Spirit Awards is an awards gala celebrating individuals and organizations whose work reflects the values and spirit of those who served our country during the World War II years. On Friday, June 10, 2016, The National WWII Museum and Whitney Bank will honor those who inspire others through their own acts of courage, sacrifice, initiative and generosity—particularly in the areas of leadership, service to country or community and education.

This prestigious honor of the American Spirit Medallion is bestowed upon individuals who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to the principles that strengthen America’s freedom and democracy. Through their work and philanthropy, American Spirit Medallion recipients exemplify the highest standards of integrity, discipline, and initiative while making unselfish contributions to their community, state, or the nation. Past recipients of this honor include WWII Medal of Honor recipients like Vernon Baker, Van T. Barfoot, Walter D. Ehlers, and Hershel “Woody” Williams, and notable public figures like Tom Brokaw, Gary Sinise, Tom Hanks, and Collin Powell.

This year, the Museum is humbled to present this honor to Dr. Norman C. Francis and Governor William Winter.

 

NORMAN C. FRANCIS

asa-francisAs president of the nation’s only historically black and Catholic university from 1968 to 2015, Dr. Francis guided Xavier University’s growth both in size and dimension. Through his leadership, the university instituted a core curriculum and was nationally recognized as a leader in minority education. Xavier has been especially successful in educating health professionals. In premedical education, Xavier has been ranked first in the nation in placing African American students into medical schools since 1993. Named by his peers as one of the 100 most effective college and university leaders, Dr. Francis, who retired as president at the conclusion of the 2014-2015 academic year, is often cited for his involvement in the community and for his work on the national, state and local levels to improve education. He has served in an advisory role to eight US presidential administrations on education and civil rights issues, and has served on 54 boards and commissions. In 2006, President George W. Bush presented him with the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 

GOVERNOR WILLIAM WINTER

asa-winterLong before leading Mississippi as governor from 1980 to 1984, William Winter served as an infantry officer in America and in the Pacific during World War II. After returning home, he began a career in elected public service. Throughout his career, Winter’s mission has been to strengthen public education while championing racial reconciliation as well as historic preservation and economic development. He has served as chairman of the Southern Regional Education Board, the Commission on the Future of the South, the National Civic League, the Kettering Foundation, the Foundation for the Mid South, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Ole Miss Alumni Association. He was a member of President Clinton’s National Advisory Board on Race and was instrumental in the founding of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi. He was awarded the Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. An attorney in the Jones Walker law firm in Jackson, Mississippi, he is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law.


During the ceremony the Museum will also honor veterans and those with a direct connection to World War II who have served our country with distinction and, upon retirement, continue to lead by example with the Silver Service Medallion. Learn more about this year’s Silver Service Medallion recipients.

 

Proceeds from the American Spirit Awards support educational programming at The National WWII Museum—including the ongoing development of classroom materials and professional development opportunities for teachers in schools across the country as well as online experiences that bring the Museum and its research resources to students around the world. Learn how you can support these efforts too.

American Spirit Awards 2016 | The Silver Service Medallion Recipients

asa-whitney-logo whiteThe American Spirit Awards is an awards gala celebrating individuals and organizations whose work reflects the values and spirit of those who served our country during the World War II years. On Friday, June 10, 2016, The National WWII Museum and Whitney Bank will honor those who inspire others through their own acts of courage, sacrifice, initiative and generosity—particularly in the areas of leadership, service to country or community and education.

The National WWII Museum President and CEO Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller will present The Silver Service Medallion to veterans and those with a direct connection to World War II who have served our country with distinction and, upon retirement, continue to lead by example. Each recipient, Jerry Yellin, Richard E. Cole, and Betty Reid Soskin, exemplifies core values that were critical to the Allied war effort – teamwork, optimism, loyalty and bravery.

 

JERRY YELLIN

asa-yellinIn 1942, two months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Jerry Yellin volunteered for the US Army Air Forces on his 18th birthday. Jerry completed fighter pilot training at Luke Air Field in August of 1943. He spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P-47 and P-51 combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron. Captain Yellin participated in the first land-based fighter mission over Japan on April 7, 1945. He also has the unique distinction of having flown the final combat mission of World War II on August 14, 1945 — the day the war ended. On that mission, his wingman, Phillip Schlamberg, became the last man killed in combat during World War II. After the war, Jerry went on to write about his experiences during World War II and is the author of numerous books including “Of War and Weddings,” “The Blackened Canteen,” “The Resilient Warrior” and “The Letter.” Jerry is currently working on a feature film about his life titled “The Last Man Standing.” This documentary will explore Jerry’s experiences coming to terms with the war and his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Jerry and his late wife Helene celebrated 65 years of marriage and had four children.

 

RICHARD E. COLE

asa-coleRichard “Dick” Cole is one of the remaining two Doolittle Raiders, the 80 servicemen who struck an early, inspirational blow against Japan in World War II. Cole had completed pilot training with the US Army Air Forces in July 1941, and as a newly commissioned second lieutenant, was eager to serve after the Pearl Harbor attacks. In early 1942, Cole volunteered for a dangerous mission he knew nothing about. Three months later, on April 18, 1942, he was in the co-pilot’s seat of General Jimmy Doolittle’s B-25, bound on a one-way trip over Tokyo on the first American counterstrike of the war. After reaching mainland Asia in the B-25, Cole remained in the China-Burma-India theater for more than a year after the Doolittle Raid, only to return to service there from October 1943 to June 1944. He was relieved from active duty in January 1947 after the war’s end. Cole was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Chinese Army, Navy, Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st grade for his service during the war. Cole retired from the US Air Force with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

 

BETTY REID SOSKIN

asa-soskinBetty Soskin (née Charbonnet) grew up in a Cajun/Creole African-American family that settled in the San Francisco area after massive river flooding devastated Louisiana in 1927. Her parents joined her maternal grandfather, George Allen, who had resettled in Oakland at the end of World War I. Betty worked as a file clerk in a segregated union hall, Boilermakers A-36, during World War II. In 1945 she and her young husband, Mel Reid, founded a small Berkeley music store – Reid’s Records – that remains in operation. Betty has since held positions as staff to a Berkeley City Council member and as a field representative serving West Contra Costa County for two members of the California State Assembly. She was named a Woman of the Year by the California State Legislature in 1995, and in 2005 was named one of the nation’s 10 outstanding women by the National Women’s History Project. At 94, Soskin still works as a park ranger for the Rosie the Riveter World War II/Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California.


During the ceremony the Museum will also bestow the prestigious honor of the American Spirit Medallion to individuals who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to the principles that strengthen America’s freedom and democracy. Learn who this year’s American Spirit Medallion recipients are here.

 
Proceeds from the American Spirit Awards support educational programming at The National WWII Museum—including the ongoing development of classroom materials and professional development opportunities for teachers in schools across the country as well as online experiences that bring the Museum and its research resources to students around the world. Learn how you can support these efforts too.