I'm a pretty patriotic guy. I really do believe we live in the greatest country in the world and I am proud to be an American. One time in our country's history that hits a very nostalgic and poignant note for me is the WWII years. I love the music, the fashion and the films of that period. I also love the propaganda posters. They encouraged people to buy war bonds, use their ration points, plant Victory Gardens, and essentially come together for the common good. They evoke a feeling of pride and unification that I still find inspiring.
As such, I enjoy collecting posters from this period, and one of my favorites is pictured below. It features fighting men from all branches of the military (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines), walking arm-in-arm with a nurse. I just love it, and it proudly hangs in my hallway.
Another propaganda poster in my collection features a wonderful version of the iconic "Rosie The Riveter" character. "Rosie" represented the American women who worked in factories during the WWII, often replacing the jobs of men who were serving their country, or in new positions that were created due to the need for war-related items. This poster features Rosie working in the wing of an airplane, and encourages women to seek out jobs under the powerful headline, "The More Women at Work, The Sooner We Win."
Finally, I love my WWII USO Poster. The United Service Organization is a wonderful organization whose mission is to provide comfort and entertainment for service men and women. Many Hollywood stars entertained the troops at USO outposts and were committed to offering up some hope and joy to those who were serving their country. One of my favorite movies, and one that exemplifies this is "Hollywood Canteen," which offers up a great roster of stars who made cameo appearances.
So this 4th of July, if you're anywhere near a flea market, take a second look at the propaganda posters from the WWII era. They are a great way to catch a glimpse of patriotism and hope at work, and they embody and serve as a reminder of what I believe to be some of the best qualities in all of us.
All photos by Bob Richter.