As we think back on the Independence Day Holiday…
One of the founding principles of the Americans in Wartime Museum is its vision to not only honor the brave men and women in uniform who served our country, but to demonstrate via the museum the sacrifices made by ALL Americans at various parts of our history. Because during the War of Independence fought on our soil, civilians were in the line of fire. The very first shots fired at Lexington and Concord were basically from civilians.
And civilians were in the line of fire throughout our military operations. But most importantly, the folks on the home front also made sacrifices. . The family waiting for the dreaded visit from the military, or the delivery of telegram bringing heartbreaking news about their son or daughter, husband or wife, uncle, brother, or aunt. From turning in scrap metal, to working jobs they were thought incapable of (Remember Rosie the Riveter?), the Home Front is a part of American’s strength during War.
I bring this up, because a study by Ohio State University about casualties among the civilian workforce during WW II caught my eye and made me think about the museum’s holistic approach to its vision. According to the National WWII Museum, there were nearly 1.1 million KIA and WIA during WWII among the Armed Services. But according to Bureau of Labor Statistics for 1942 to 1945 cited by OHSU, there were nearly six million disabling or deadly industrial accidents. Think about that……over five times more casualties among the civilian workforce than on the front line, 75,000 civilian home front deaths alone.
Such numbers staggered me. But then I thought about the vision of the AWM and understood….this new museum will be like no other museum in the world. AWM is using tanks and rifles to tell a story, not only of our military but all Americans. So that is why the name “Americans in Wartime Museum” is such a perfect moniker. And something to think about during this Independence Day Holiday.