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D ecember 7, 19 41

 The Wee Vee's mast is on display at West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

An American Hero

Dorie Miller – Battleship Wee Vee’s Cook becomes Hero

On May 27, 1942, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz personally awarded Miller the Navy Cross aboard Enterprise (CV-6). In his address, Nimitz noted that "This marks the first time in this conflict that such high tribute has been made in the Pacific Fleet to a member of his race."


"For distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii , by Japanese forces on December 7, 19 41 . While at the side of his Captain on the bridge, Miller, despite enemy strafing and bombing and in the face of a serious fire, assisted in moving his Captain, who had been mortally wounded, to a place of greater safety, and later manned and operated a machine gun directed at enemy Japanese”.

USS Miller (DE-1091; later FF-1091) was named in honor of Cook Third Class Doris Miller (1919-1943)

Miller was a mess attendant aboard the West Virginia .  African Americans were not able to serve in combat capacities aboard ships. Captain Bennion was injured by machine gun fire, Miller helped remove him to a place of relative safety. Miller then found a loaded but unattended anti-aircraft gun, took control of it and began firing at the attacking Japanese planes, even though he had no prior training in operating the weapon; he eventually ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship. On 24 Nov 1943 Miller was serving aboard the Liscome Bay (CVE-56) when the carrier was sunk in the Gilbert Islands.

December 8, 19 41  

“Yesterday, December 7, 19 41 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”


Using fireside chats-President Roosevelt challenges America

In the months and years that followed President Roosevelt challenged all Americans to participate in the war effort and protect the American way of life. He asked America to have blackout and civil defense drills; to recycle metals, paper, and cooking fats. This same generation of the depression was called upon literally to save the world from destruction. From the factories and farms on the home front, to the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific, they galvanized into an effort that has not been witnessed since. Americans demonstrated their strong support for the war by working longer hours while having fewer consumer goods to buy with their salaries.


Inspired by President Roosevelt's 1940 Inaugural speech; Norman Rockwell using the front cover of the Saturday Evening Post on 20, 27 February and 6 and 13 March 1943 issues interpreted the optimistic goals set forth by President Roosevelt as the four freedoms.





The heavy weight champion of the world served in the United States Army.









Sergeant Joe Louis with wife Jacquelin and daughter Marva in 1943.







Movie Stars Linda Darnell, Marlene Dietrich and "Rochester" Jack Benny's side kick visited troop in field.  Ann Ruthford visited wounded service men in hospitals


Some 20% of the adult males served in the military

Military service: AKERS, John “Bill; AKERS, Claude J “Peanuts”; ATHA, Johnny; BARKO, Steve; BARNHOUSE, Dickey; BIRCHFIELD Jr., Frank; BIRCHFIELD, James Henry; BOBBITT, Bucky; BOGGS, Norman, COTTRELL, Homer; DAWSON, Hubert; ELSWICK, Harry; ELSWICK, James; ELSWICK, Oran; ESTEP, Billy; FARTHING, Woodrow;  FOSTER, ???; GIVENS, John; GRIGSBY, Charles; HOFFMAN, Carlos; HOFFMAN J R; HOLBROOK, Willie; HORNSBY, Henry; HUBBARD, Donald; HUBBARD, Edwin; JOYCE, Junior; KAUFF, “Cookie”; LUNDY, Homer; MAYER, J; McCARDLE, Harry; McCARDLE, Jimmy; MILLER, Everett; MILLER, R B; MILLER, Ronald; NUTTER, Tommy; PETERS, Johnny; PRICE, Carl; PRICE, Earl; REDDEN, Wesley; ROBERT, Norman; REDMAN, Don; REDMAN, Leslie; SETTLE, James; SIZEMORE, Brady; SLEBODA, James; SCOTT, Charles; WARD, James; WORKMAN, “Bear”






Buzz Harmon a marine recalls the invasion of Iwo Jima Feb-Mar 1945   

Buster Harmon grew up in Powellton a coal camp bordering Elkridge. Both camps were owned and operated by the same parent coal company. Powellton was larger with more comfort convinces such as indoor plumbing. Both camps had their own elementary school and children from both coal camps went to Montgomery Junior and High School. Beginning with the 7th grade Buster became life time friends with several boys from Elkridge. The people in both camps were of similar cultures.  Because of the importance of Iwo Jima to the American victory over Japan; we are including Buster's personal story about his World War two experience and his participation in the invasion of Iwo Jima. For the 70,000 Americans, Iwo Jima was the step to the Japanese heartland and to the end of an awful war. For the 22,000 Japanese defenders, Iwo Jima was the defense of their very hearths and homes as it was part of the Tokyo Imperial Prefecture (county). It was assaulted by the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions of the Fifth Marine Amphibious Corps, which included supporting sea and air units. Iwo Jima was the only Marine battle where the American casualties, 26,000, exceeded the Japanese -- most of the 22,000 defending the island. The 6,800 American servicemen killed doubled the deaths of the Twin-Towers of 9/11. Of the over 22,000 Japanese soldiers, 20,703 died and 216 were captured. The Allied forces suffered 27,909 casualties, with 6,825 killed in action. The number of American casualties were greater than the total Allied casualties on D-Day (estimated at 10,000, compared with 125,847 American casualties during the entire Battle of Normandy).

Buster enlists in the Marines gets the nick name "BUZZ" and is sent to Iwo Jima

I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943 after completing one year of college at WV Tech in Montgomery. After completing boot training at Parris Island, SC I went to Camp Lejeune, NC for field telephone school. Our training was conducted in muddy fields similar to combat conditions. Our instructors were as tough as those in boot camp. When we returned to our barracks at the end of a training session, two men pulled the cart that held all of our training gear. The carts were heavy and we were dirty, muddy and jovial; that is until we reached the barracks that housed the Women Marines taking boot training. Then we tried to look our best and show off for the beautiful ladies. They would clap their hands and yell out to us that we were doing a good job with our carts.

In July 1943 I was sent by troop train to Camp Pendleton, CA. The thing I remembered most about crossing the USA was when we stopped at Santa Ana, CA. At Santa Ana the gals who were loading fruit on the train filled their aprons with fresh oranges and gave them to us. At Camp Pendleton we received additional combat training. When we got liberty, we headed for Hollywood. You could catch a bus or hitch hike. Most chose to hitch hike as every service man on the Pacific Coast Highway was picked up. The civilian population treated every service man with respect and would help them in any way they could. Another Marine and I were walking on a sidewalk in Los Angeles and a lady came out on her front porch and ask us to come in for a cup of coffee. Her son was overseas and she wanted to talk with who someone who could share her concerns about her son. We did our best to console and reassure her.  In Los Angeles there were a couple big dance halls with big band music and you could dance with pretty girls. Any service man could spend the night in one of the big hotels. You would just walk in and the desk clerk would point to a couch or a big overstuffed chair if one was empty.

In a couple of weeks we shipped out to Roi-Namur in the Marshall Islands. We went ashore February 1, 1944 and joined the Fourth Marine Division. I celebrated my 20th birthday two days later while setting up our switch board in a large blown up building. We kept a sharp lookout as this was our first combat experience and we wanted to be ready for anything. On February 12th the Japs hit our Ammunition Dump; it looked like the whole Island had exploded. The Colonel expected an invasion and we were ordered to go to the beach. It was pitch dark and every white cap wave looked like something was coming ashore. The ammunition was flying all night. Twenty six were killed, 130 were injured. We stayed on Roi-Namur until November 1944 when we went to Pearl Harbor and Camp Catlin. We had a few liberties from Catlin and then I was sent to Camp Maui where I became a part of Headquarters 3rd  Battalion, 25th  Marines. My sergeant was Sergeant Eidson and Corporal Al  Marchando saw to it that we found our bunks and met all the guys.  We worked with the artillery, the tanks and were a part of the infantry most of the time.  They had been to Roi Namur, Saipan and Tinian and were getting ready to make their fourth landing  where-ever they were sent. The word came down we were shipping out. When we got underway we learned that we were headed for Iwo Jima. Corporal Dallas Conrad and I were to go ashore and become the observation post telephone men. We were to go ashore, with our reel of wire weighing some 70 pounds, by amtrac and immediately contact Colonel Chambers to supplement his radio contact with telephone communications. We were in the 5th wave and when we approached our landing area all hell broke loose. The landing area was full of men and amtracs being blown up. Our driver made a quick left turn and ran parallel to the beach for about a hundred yards. When we finally landed Conrad and I were thinking about that trip we were going to have going back up the beach to find the Colonel. It was about 10AM when we finally got started on our run. When I later told this story to my son and about how we cussed the driver for taking us down the beach; he said, “Dad that driver probably saved you life by choosing a different landing site”. Now I agree that my son is right.

Iwo Jima 19 February 1945

Conrad and I ran from the shell hole in front of us to the next open shell hole all the way back to our intended landing site. When an artillery shell landed in front of us we would jump into the hole and look for the next hole. The reel of wire got heaver with each hole we advanced; we seemed to get stronger with the added danger. The beach was filled with bodies and blown up equipment. There were some tanks that made it ashore and we had to give them plenty of space. We were told not to go near a tank as the Japs were taking special aim at tanks and a lot of Marines were hit because of them. We finally hooked up with Colonel Chambers and his radio men. Our Battalion had made pretty good distance and was up to the first airstrip. Evening was closing in and we started looking for the safest spot to dig in for the night. Colonel Chambers chose a shell hole on the beach and we made it deeper and burrowed into the sides. When darkness started to fall the shelling seemed to increase and they had a large rocket they fired over and over again. The rocket had fire coming out the tail of it and when you are in a foxhole it looks like each one of them was coming straight at you. Colonel Chambers had a piece of tin over his head and he finally told us to quit ducking because he was hitting his head against that tin every time we ducked. That was a strange night, you could hear aircraft going overhead, but they did not bomb us but we sure knew they were there. The next morning our guys started moving out and they over ran the first airstrip and all of us moved up. We set up our command post in a rock quarry and started stringing wire up to each company. That reel of wire made it to our first observation point. Colonel Chambers was nicknamed “Jumping Joe” because he was always on the move. We set up the OP and the Colonel and his men went back to the command post for the night. Conrad and I settled in with the open telephone line back to the command post. The 3rd battalion troops were all around us and things were pretty quite the first night. We spotted a big bunch of Japs in the far distance on top of the mountain. Colonel Chambers ordered naval gun fire on that mountain. The Naval gunfire blew the whole mountain top to bits. The 3rd day the rest of the days our guys got shot up pretty bad. Colonel Chambers was in the thick of it and he took some machine gun bullets in his back. They took him to the aid station and then out to the Hospital Ship. He survived and came out OK. They gave him the Congressional Medal of Honor for his action against the enemy and he certainly deserved it. It had started to rain when we were relieved by a Battalion from the 3rd Division. We were wet dirty and dead tired. I found a good spot to rest but was told to lead the new group up to the OP. We went to the OP fast, the Colonel of the relief group told me I could head back down the mountain and I did on the double. When I got back I had to help string some new wire in the dark out to one of the companies. You learn to sing so that someone doesn’t take a shot at you from your own side of the trail. We were pulled back to make a pivot point for the other groups to move on to the north side of the Island. It seemed like it took forever to finish securing the Island.


President Harry S. Truman awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to World War II veteran Colonel Justice M. Chambers, from Huntington, WV, United States Marine Corps Reserve for gallant action on Iwo Jima, February, 1945.

Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force of the United States of America. It is bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Generally it is presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress; it is often called the Congressional Medal of Honor.

During World War Two 81 Marines and 57 Naval persons were awarded the Medal of Honor. During the assault on Iwo Jima 22 Marines and 5 Sailors were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Citation for Colonel Justice Chamber Medal of Honor

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the 3d Assault Battalion Landing Team, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, from 19 to 22 February 1945. Under a furious barrage of enemy machinegun and small-arms fire from the commanding cliffs on the right, Col. Chambers (then Lt. Col.) landed immediately after the initial assault waves of his battalion on D-day to find the momentum of the assault threatened by heavy casualties from withering Japanese artillery, mortar rocket, machinegun, and rifle fire. Exposed to relentless hostile fire, he coolly reorganized his battle-weary men, inspiring them to heroic efforts by his own valor and leading them in an attack on the critical, impregnable high ground from which the enemy was pouring an increasing volume of fire directly onto troops ashore as well as amphibious craft in succeeding waves. Constantly in the front lines encouraging his men to push forward against the enemy's savage resistance, Col. Chambers led the 8-hour battle to carry the flanking ridge top and reduce the enemy's fields of aimed fire, thus protecting the vital foothold gained. In constant defiance of hostile fire while reconnoitering the entire regimental combat team zone of action, he maintained contact with adjacent units and forwarded vital information to the regimental commander. His zealous fighting spirit undiminished despite terrific casualties and the loss of most of his key officers, he again reorganized his troops for renewed attack against the enemy's main line of resistance and was directing the fire of the rocket platoon when he fell, critically wounded. Evacuated under heavy Japanese fire, Col. Chambers, by forceful leadership, courage, and fortitude in the face of staggering odds, was directly instrumental in insuring the success of subsequent operations of the 5th Amphibious Corps on Iwo Jima, thereby sustaining and enhancing the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


From our battle station we had seen the flag raised on Mount Suribachi. We saw gun fire coming from the ships guns and saw the first B-29 making an emergency landing at the Iwo Jima Air Strip.

At last the word went out that the Island was in our hands, we walked side by side across all of the terrain that we had taken making sure we had not missed anything. They had a lot of tunnel openings that they could pop out of and these had to be closed with a grenade or satchel charge. Word came down that we were to head to the beach. We formed up and headed out. The Seabees came though again for us Marines. The Seabees greeted and congratulated every one as they passed out biscuits and marmalade. The Seabee cooks stayed up all night baking those biscuits for us. We boarded the ships and headed for Maui, Hawaii. The whole population of Maui greeted us in their native garb, school children lined the road on both sides to greet us; it was a great feeling to know we were back to our home away from home. We got a six day leave in Honolulu. The submarine service had exclusive use of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and they graciously let the Fourth Division us it.

This excerpt is from the manuscript “Anybody here from WV” by Howard L Chernoff World War 2 foreign correspondent.


“I wish you could have spoken with Woodrow Farthing, of Elkridge. Woodrow is a private in this man's army and he is in the infantry….I saw Woodrow in the hospital. He got there because he was hit in the left forearm by shrapnel from a German 88 shell…Here is Woodrow's story. Woodrow's company was ordered to attack. They started up a hill and over a barbed wire defense towards their objective. Shells were bursting overhead, but the company kept going up that hill, its objective to destroy the fortification on top…Woodrow was hit about 5 o'clock in the evening and he lay in his tracks until 11 o'clock that night because there were no medics about. Then, a medic appeared on the scene to give Woodrow first aid. They noticed another man nearby who was more seriously injured so Woodrow and the medic pulled the other man onto a stretcher hauled him to a hedgerow and the three of them lay there all night. In the morning the medic went for help, came back with a jeep and the three of them went to an evacuation hospital, but—and get a load of this--Woodrow gave blood to his buddy and saved a life.”


I enlisted in the army in June of 1943. In April of 1944 I went to South Hampton , England to the staging area for the Invasion of France. I landed on Omaha Beach on June 12, 19 44 , (6 days after D-Day) as a Combat Medic with the 119th Regiment of the 30th Infantry Division.


On the 17th of July that year, our own planes bombed the 119th Regiment by mistake. General Leslie McNair was killed by our own planes. My outfit had to move on, but I stayed behind by myself for a while to care for the wounded and tag the dead.

I was wounded on the 31 of July 1944 and had surgery in France . I was flown to England for more surgery and spent several months there. I was released from the hospital on December 14, 1944 and went straight to Liege , Belgium . I got there on my birthday on December 26, 19 44 . On the night of the 27th, we were engaged in the Battle of the Bulge. It was so cold in the forest that men froze to death one night. The snow was about 2 ½ feet deep and the ground so hard you could not digs a foxhole. My Sergeant and I dug down in the snow and cut pine limbs to put over us to keep the wind out. I stayed awake all night kicking my feet together to keep warm. My sergeant went to sleep. When he woke up, he said, ”Jess, my feet are burning up.” When I took his shoes and socks off, his feet had started to turn blue. He had blisters on his toes. He had sever frost bite on his feet. I called the litter bearers and they picked him up and took him to the rear of the front line. He never came back to my outfit.


I was wounded again by shrapnel on the 25th of January 1945 in the Battle of the Bulge. I was sent back to England to the Hospital. The doctors left the shrapnel in by back and shoulder. I was released from the hospital in June of 1945 and sent back to Germany . The war ended on my way back to Germany . I and two other medics ran a large Aid Station in Chrispendorf , Germany until I came home to the States in September of 1945.


I was discharged October 16, 19 45 . My brothers, Carlos, Dennie and Brownie all spent over 20 years each in the Military, but I was the only one to fight in WWII. I was awarded two Purple Hearts and one Bronze Star.


My son, Charles David Hoffman also saw live action in the war of Vietnam . He was killed in Vietnam on November 4, 1970 . He received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and several other medals.

V- Mail

The military serving overseas were allowed to send mail home free. All mail coming from overseas was censored. A postage stamp cost three cents. Mail going overseas was not censored.

On the Homefront America during World War 2

Defense Industry


Defense industry: Lilly Birchfied; Virginia Birchfield ; Betty Jean Custer; Frances Hubbard ; Joetta Hubbard

Morale and well being of our service men and women


The USO was founded in 1941 in response to a request from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide morale and recreation services to uniformed military personnel. This request led six civilian agencies -- the Salvation Army, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, National Catholic Community Service, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board to unite in support of the troops. The USO was incorporated in New York February 4, 1941.





USO centers and clubs opened around the world as a “Home Away from Home” for GIs. The local USO was a place to go for dances and social events, for movies and music, for a quiet place to talk or write a letter home, or for a free cup of coffee and a doughnut. The USO also brought Hollywood celebrities and volunteer entertainers to perform for the troops.



At its high point in 1944, the USO had more than 3,000 clubs, and curtains were rising on USO shows 700 times a day. From 1941 to 1947, the USO presented more than 400,000 performances, featuring entertainers such as Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Ann Sheridan, James Cagney, James Stewart, Danny Kaye, The Rockettes, Al Jolson, Fred Astaire, the Andrews Sisters, Joe E. Brown, Lucille Ball, Glenn Miller, Martha Raye, Mickey Rooney, Betty Hutton, Dinah Shore, and most famously, Bob Hope.

In 1950, when the United States entered the Korean War, the USO once again brought its services and entertainment tours, including Errol Flynn, Debbie Reynolds, Terry Moore, and Marilyn Monroe, to the troops. This effort continued after the war ended, and the USO expanded to serve the more than one million troops who remained stationed overseas. During the 1960s, as tensions escalated in Vietnam, the USO began to open centers in combat zones. The 23 centers in Vietnam and Thailand served as many as a million service members a month, and the USO presented more than 5,000 performances during the Vietnam War featuring stars such as John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Sammy Davis Jr., Phyllis Diller, Martha Raye, Joey Heatherton, Wayne Newton, Jayne Mansfield, Redd Foxx, Rosey Grier, Anita Bryant, Nancy Sinatra, Lola Falana, and (of course) Bob Hope. In addition, the USO operates centers at major US airports to provide a lounge and place to sleep for servicemen between their flights.

Hope performed his first United Service Organizations (USO) show on May 6, 1941, at March Field, California. He continued to travel and entertain troops for the rest of World War II and later during the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the 1990–1991 Persian Gulf War. When overseas he almost always performed in Army fatigues as a show of support for his audience. Hope's USO career lasted half a century, during which he headlined approximately sixty tours. For his service to his country through the USO, Hope was awarded the prestigious Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1968.


Bob Hope received the Congressional Gold Medal (June 8, 1962) , the Presidential Medal of Freedom (awarded by Lyndon B. Johnson, January 20, 1969), the  prestigious Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1968 and a 1997 act of Congress signed by President Clinton named Hope an "Honorary Veteran". He is the only individual in United States history to have earned this honor. He remarked, "I've been given many awards in my lifetime — but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most — is the greatest honor I have ever received."


Meat, butter, sugar and certain other commodities were rationed because the fat content was needed to make explosives or provide for other war-related needs. Recycling was big during World War II, a phenomenon that disappeared for a few decades until environmental issues came to the fore. But we saved newspapers, tin cans and all sorts of scrap metal—collections were held regularly to gather in these vital materials. Ration books were issued to families and stamps were required in order to purchase rationed commodities. people were encouraged to economize by all possible means—nothing was to be wasted.



Tires were not rationed  they were just not available






We had scrap drives; the kids and older men and women gathered old pots and pans, bicycles or anything that could be melted down and used in the war effort. We recycled tin cans and cooking grease. Bumpers were removed from cars and used for scrap metal. Movie star Rita Hayworth donated her car bumper for scrap iron. Kids saved the tin foil from cigarette packages and chewing gum wrappers.


During the war, everyone had to cover their windows and doors at night with heavy blackout curtains, cardboard or paint. When the church bells rang  people were obliged to either turn off all their lights or completely pull down opaque shades that would prevent light from escaping. The warden, wearing a protective helmet, would patrol the neighborhood on foot with a flashlight and politely correct all those who perhaps allowed a small beam of light to escape from a window. Vehicle headlights were fitted with slotted covers to deflect their beam down. Those who smoked cupped the cigarette in their hand so the lighted end could not be seen from an airplane flying above. The purpose of the blackout was to prevent any glimmer of light from escaping and aiding enemy aircraft should there be a bombing raid. Our Scout Master was also the blackout warden; he or his deputy would walk the road at night to make sure that everything was blacked out.

We kids who grew up in this small coal camp participated in the war effort. Our Scout Master who was also the Civil Defense Warden would walk the road of this holler at night to make certain the homes had black out curtains. We were nestled between 2 hills and at the widest place the distance from hill to hill was maybe 200 yards. I was a scout and much too young to be smoking but like so many others I did. The Warden would make sure that we put a coat over our head when we lit our cigarette and we covered the cigarette with out hand when we smoked so the German or Japanese airplanes would not be able to see out lighted cigarette when they flew over our town. We collected tin foil from cigarette packs and chewing gum wrappers and made a ball and would show off out how big our ball was. We collected soda pop bottles and returned them to the store for money. We saved our pennies so we could buy savings bond stamps. I believe the smallest denomination was for 10 cents. We collected tin cans and scrap metal that had been discarded. Individually we knew we were doing our part. Looking back now what we did was not nearly as important as we thought it was.

KILLROY the super GI


Kilroy was an imaginary GI who led or participated in every combat mission during WW2. GI's considered him the "super GI", he was the one who always got there first and was always the last to leave. Kilroy became a reminder that we were at war and sacrifice was required by everyone. The scribbled cartoon face and words showed up everywhere - worldwide. We in Elkridge had our own Kilroy postings in public places.

About 1900 our ancestors established Elkridge as a community. As a community they made sacrifices to renew the Spirit of America bequeathed to all Americans by our Revolutionary War ancestors. They helped each other recover from the big flood of 1932. As a community they struggled together throughout the great depression. During World War Two Elkridge joined many other American communities and together we helped win the war. We shared our relatives with the Armed Forces; we bought war bonds, collected scrap metal for the war effort, and willingly made personal sacrifices necessitated through rationing. The coal company quit mining coal in 1953. For economic reasons most families migrated to other communities and Elkridge as a community came to an end.

In times need of Americans and American Communities

all over the United States joined together and became

America   At Her Best”