Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Admiral King Visits Lorain's 1942 Home Front Celebration Part 3

Admiral Ernest J. King's homecoming was the highlight of Lorain's "Blast the Enemy" home front celebration. He made several appearances throughout the day on Sunday, including laying the cornerstone of a Lakeview Park memorial to Lorain men and women in the armed forces. The grand finale was his appearance at the downtown parade, which he headed in an open car before 60,000 onlookers, before taking his place on honor on the reviewing stand.

The front page of the Monday, August 31, 1942 edition of the Lorain Journal contained several articles about the weekend's festivities, and it is shown above (click on it for a closer look.) In the same edition, the paper published the following excellent editorial.


'To Victory of Course'

"This is the people's war."

That was the theme of all the home-coming remarks of Admiral Ernest J. King to his fellow townsmen.

But Lorain got more than this from the visit of the commander of the fleet. It gained the firm conviction that in the Ernie King who grew up and went to school in Lorain, the people's war is being fought by a people's leader.

It was a homecoming such as could only happen in America, leaving Lorain thrilled and inspired by the greatest spectacle, the greatest demonstration in its history – a demonstration that was spontaneous, warm and sincere from the opening event at 10:30 in the morning until the closing pledge to the Flag at 10:30 at night.

It was a home-coming that we hope and believe gave the admiral assurance of the confidence, the esteem and the high admiration in which he is held by his fellow townsmen, his fellow Americans.

The beaming faces, the warm hand-clasps of old friends, the round-eyed adoration of boys and girls, the cheering crowds of workers who turned out at mill and shipyards to greet him, the friendly, approving throngs that almost mobbed him at the evening ceremonies all testified to that.

A visiting newspaperman best described it, writing: "Lorain is so terribly proud of him that it warms the heart of an outsider. He may be the austere commander in chief of the United States fleet and chief of naval operations. He may wear four stars on his epaulettes on dress parade. But here, glory be to God, he is still Ernie King, a home town boy who made good in a startlingly big way."

Thru it all the admiral, modest, unassuming, kept pressing home that we are still in the preparatory stage of the war, that a long, hard struggle still lies ahead.

Again and again, he stressed the need of "the tools of war," a message of special significance for an area engaged in the making of those tools.

"We have been able," he told the great crowd of men and women who gathered at the Lorain shipyards, on their own time, "to furnish to our enemies in the Solomons and in the Tulgai area a sample of what they're going to get. They'll get more as we get the tools, and it's up to you to furnish the tools."

All who heard him must have made a private pledge to do all in their power to see that their admiral had the tools that he, his men and all the others in the armed forces may need to speed the day of victory.

And no matter how long the road, no matter how rough the going, none will doubt that victory lies at the end.

All will echo the admiral's answer to the question: "Where are we going?"


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