At Post Square in Dallas on July 17, thousands of citizens with smiles on their faces, cash in their pockets and pride in their hearts piled in together in the sweltering heat to support the war effort with the purchase of war bonds.
This was only one of the many rallies that are happening around the country on a regular basis. Most are sponsored by the Retailers Advisory Council of the Treasury. Attendees see speakers and entertainers—the only entrance requirement is the purchase of war bonds.
The event in Dallas started with a speech by the District registrar, Theodore Cogswell, who stated, “Our country is not yet awake to the dread seriousness of the situation which confronts us. We would be less than candid if we did not admit to ourselves that thus far we have not been fighting a winning war.” Cogswell was the recipient of the D.S.C. medal, the Croix de Guerre, the Purple Heart decoration and two Silver Star citations in World War One. Cogswell went on to applaud Americans for their true spirit and drive during each of the horrendous wars. He said, “We need time, men, and money—we already have the will to win. But time is not yet on our side and peril is growing.” Cogswell mentioned that the best way for the people of the home front to support those fighting is to keep purchasing bonds.
Another notable attendee at the Dallas rally was the film star Loretta Young. Young took the microphone shortly after Cogswell and urged the participants to be “a hundred and ten percent American.” She said, “Let’s really back up the war heroes and all the other soldiers, aviators, and marines by investing at least 10 percent of our earnings in war savings. We’re getting the ships, we’re getting the men, let’s get the money, too.” She was also featured during an afternoon radio broadcast with Mrs. R.D. McClure, the mother of Charles M. McClure (one of the American fliers who bombed Tokyo), Capt. Florence McDonald, and Lieut. Ruth M. Straub, both Army nurses who served on Corregidor Island during the American retreat from the Philippines.
The entertainment for the day was provided by Jimmy Dorsey’s band, with the lead singer Helen O’Connell. The band played a set between each speech.
War rallies are equally popular in other states. This summer they have been held all over the country. A rally in New York City’s Times Square in May resulted in the purchase of over $503,000 worth of war bonds and stamps. Last month a massive breakfast rally in Chicago raised over $5 million for the war effort. At a rally in St. Louis, merchants gave away bundles of postcards for mailing to service men. Each of these events had a similar structure to the one in Dallas: live entertainment, movie stars, and war heroes all put on a show to keep the American people encouraged and optimistic.
Although the intent of these rallies is to encourage the American people to support the war effort financially, these rallies amount to more than that. The people are able to come together and remind one another why they must continue to love America and push through to the end of the war.
“‘Heroes’ Day Rally in Post Square.” The Washington Post (1923-1954), Jul 18 1942, pp. 24. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post, https://search.proquest.com/docview/151477434?accountid=13793.
“$503,000 in War Bonds and Stamps Sold at Movie Committee’s Rally in Times Sq.” New York Times (1923-Current file), May 30 1942, pp. 16. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times, https://search.proquest.com/docview/106430410?accountid=13793.
“Heroes’ Day War Bond Rally Scheduled Today in Post Square.” The Washington Post (1923-1954), Jul 17 1942, pp. 1. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post, https://search.proquest.com/docview/151468156?accountid=13793.