Learning to Sacrifice- It’s The American Way

WWII Sacrifice Pledge

Share and Play Square

Ok, Millennial. Overheard while waiting on an endless line at a picked-over, bare to the bones Cosco ( paper products, fuhgeddaboutit) One millennial to another: “ I’d rather die than be quarantined!”


That comment did not sit well with the majority of retirees of a certain age who made up the bulk of the line. Including this boomer. I guess being quarantined with a limited supply of avocado toast must seem intolerable.

Oh the sacrifice!

The imperative to sacrifice during this current crisis has never been more urgent. Not surprisingly the challenges of facing the coronavirus have brought the greatest generation and their remarkable sacrifices back to the surface and back into the conversation. They understood how to share and play square.

My parent’s generation and what they sacrificed has never been far from my mind.

War Time Sacrifice

WWII Vintage Ad 1944

Right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor people were bombarded with messages asking them to be frugal, conserve, and to produce more of what they consumed. Uncle Sam had a big army to clothe, feed, and supply and their needs came first.

Because of shortages, rationing went into place. The talk was tough and powerful language: “Save Everything! Waste Nothing! And Start Today!

For the duration you could say so long to meat, butter and sugar, bid fare thee well to Frigidaires, toodle-oo to toasters and sigh..sayonara to stockings.

Even when things became available Americans were encouraged to thoughtful buying. Meaning going without the things you really don’t need. And when you absolutely had to buy…taking good care of everything you owned so it would last longer and require less frequent replacements. All this would save labor and vital war materials for the men on our fighting front. Public service ads speared encouraging you to use it up, wear it out or do without! The catchphrase for the homefront soldier.

One ad from 1944 entitled the “Patriotic Chipped Cup” sings the praises of a small town Mrs. Jones who proudly serves her company tea in a chipped cup because it shows she has the welfare of the nation at heart by being frugal.

I goes on to say: “She’s wearing clothes for another year and another! Shes not competing with her neighbors for merchandise of any kind. She’s making do!”

The greatest generation lived by that credo “Use it Up! Wear it Out or Do Without.” So can we. “ These were our parents and our grandparents.

We can do it! Yes, we can!






  1. Pierre Lagacé

    We learn so much from older generations. How future generations will write about us…and learn?

    Liked by 1 person

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