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Tag Archives: World War II

An exceptional man

My Same Old 1998 Flood Story:  before this devastating flood, I had at least a couple of books that were written  and illustrated by Tom Lea.  He was an extraordinary and very talented man.

The Two Thousand Yard Stare by Tom Lea

The phrase was popularized when, in 1945, Life Magazine  published the painting Marines Call It That 2,000 Yard Stare, by World War II artist and correspondent Tom Lea.  The painting was not referred to with that title in the magazine article. The painting was a portrait of a young Marine at the Battle of Peleliu  in 1944 and is now held by United States Army Center of Military History, Forst Lesley J. McNair, Washington D.C.   About the real-life Marine who was his subject, Lea said:

“He left the States 31 months ago. He was wounded in his first campaign. He has had tropical diseases. He half-sleeps at night and gouges Japs out of holes all day. Two-thirds of his company has been killed or wounded. He will return to attack this morning. How much can a human being endure?”

ON JANUARY 29, 2001 RENOWNED ARTIST AND AUTHOR TOM LEA DIED AT AGE 93 IN his hometown of El Paso, TX, as the result of complications from a fall he had suffered the previous week. He leaves behind the monumental legacy of a seven-decade career as an artist and writer in which he used the magic of pen and brush to convey his deep passion for the desert Southwest and its people.

Camp Ruston – Louisiana

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During World War II, Camp Ruston was one of the largest prisoner of war camps in the United States. At its peak in October, 1943, the camp held 4,315 prisoners. The camp was built by the local T.L. James Company on 770 acres about seven miles northwest of Ruston, Louisiana in 1942. From June 1943 to June 1946, the camp served as one of more than 500 prisoner of war camps in the United States. The first 300 men, from Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s elite Afrika Korps, arrived in August 1943. In 1944, the captured officers and crew of a German U-Boat were sent to the camp and kept in isolation in a restricted area in order to prevent them from communicating to the enemy that secret German naval codes had fallen into Allied hands. During 1944, French, Austrian, Italian, Czech, Polish, Yugoslav, Romanian, and Russian prisoners were also housed in the camp. During their incarceration in Camp Ruston, the prisoners benefited from food, medical care, and physical surroundings which were better than what their countrymen were experiencing at home. The prisoners engaged in athletic and crafts activities and allowed to organize an orchestra, a theater, and a library. Those prisoners who were enlisted men were required to work at the camp and for local farms and businesses. They picked cotton, felled timber, built roads, and performed other tasks to help solve the domestic labor shortage caused by the war. They were paid in scrip which they could use in the camp canteen. In 1944, the U.S. War Department began a program to educate prisoners of war throughout the United States in academic subjects. One source of books was the library of Louisiana Polytechnic Institute (now Louisiana Tech University). The Camp Ruston Collection contains the following materials: * Copies of National Archives records pertaining to Camp Ruston. * Official maps of the camp and USGS aerial surveys of the area. * Contemporary snapshots of Camp Ruston. * Books from the camp library Drawings, wood carvings, and other artwork crafted by the prisoners. * Items unearthed during Tech’s archaeology survey of the site. * Camp Ruston script, Christmas cards, dinner menus, musical concert programs, athletic equipment, and dinnerware.

[Source: POW Camps in Louisiana]

North Platte Canteen

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Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesdays  participants can add the book to their To Read Lists if they like your teasers!

Gradually, word of what was happening in North Platte spread from serviceman to serviceman during the war, and on the long train rides across the country the soldiers came to know that, out there on the Nebraska flatlands, the North Platte Canteen was waiting for them.

Each day of the war–every day of the war–an average of three thousand to five thousand military personnel came through North Platte, and were welcomed to the Canteen.

Once Upon a Town by Bob Greene