BY-WAYS - 10/8/42 - Commissioning an Ancient Rifle. More Army War Show - October 1, 1942


Go forth, thou relic of the Civil War!
No longer may you stand with foolish pride
Among a soldier's rusty souvenirs,
And boast that you fought on the winning side.
You now belong to all America;
She needs your help - against a ruthless foe.
What matters, if you lose identity
In that vast melting pot, where you must go.
'Tis a rebirth. In that refining fire
You take new form - from captive rust set free -
To fight again. "The Weapon of the Hour."
On wings of steel - to speed the Victory.

Thus scrap collection week starts off with a "bang." I note, with pride, that Saltsburg is right out in the front ranks in the war effort. It always gives a thrill to open up the home town paper, and find that such widely separated communities are doing the very same thing - to win the war, and speed the peace. If the Boy Scouts of Saltsburg are as fine and public-spirited as those of 1916-17, then Saltsburg has reason to be proud of them. They'll bring in the SCRAP.

SCRAP! SCRAP! Within that word, we have the RAP -
Which is what we'll give the Jap,
And then we'll wipe him off the MAP.

The subject of the rifle poem is a rusty affair, one of the prized possessions of my brother-in-law, Clarence Summers, whose uncle joined the Union Cavalry forces at the age of 16. He saw action, and plenty of it - near his home, Winchester, Va. The home of the woman he married (later) changed hands six times - from the Yankees to the Rebels, and back again. Clarence has treasured the gun and sword his uncle gave him. Only two weeks ago he decided that they must join the scrap heap - to serve our united nation. Such is the spirit in which thousands of people are giving up their "household gods," America is waking up! *****

Would you like to hear a little more about the Army War Show? My poor little column got so mixed up with itself and with "Funzapoppin" last week that it doesn't know whether it's coming or going. Had I told the really exciting part of my story, it would have been a case of "Funzapoppin" meeting up with "Hellzapoppin." At any rate, I'd like to be there in Saltsburg next Friday night. I do hope the ticket sellers find their "Sales a-poppin." Let's see - where did I leave off? Oh, yes, the building of the pontoon bridge - that is, if you read the bottom half of the column first. But we can bridge that error. Or shall we burn our bridges behind us? What does it matter? The engineer corps can build another in less than three and one half minutes. Two venerable and shiny jalopies were brought out on the field. Heavy ramps led up to them. Then a procession of army tanks came like elephants on a rampage. The first tank raced up the ramp, seemed to leap in the air, and pounce upon the first luckless jalopy, crushing it just like a match box, never stopping. It charged up the next ramp like an angry monster, and crushed its second victim. The other tanks followed, getting a terrific jolt as they came off the ramp, rocking a bit as they hit the mounds that were once shiny automobiles. Next came the tank destroyers, and when their powerful guns went into action, they shook the earth. (And ruined my ear drums). The coast artillery brought their ack-ack guns into full play, with powerful searchlights piercing the night sky. There was a quiet interim when the chaplain's portable chapel was brought onto the field, and a hush came over the crowd, as the announcer prayed for God's blessing and guidance. Then the gates of hell opened, and out came all the noisy implements of war. In fact, the whole army and all its guns came out for a sham battle. In the distance was the "enemy" represented by a Japanese flag. A motorcycle scout, reconnoitering, was "shot down" by the enemy. The way that soldier hurled himself from his moving motorbike was beyond comprehension. Then the battle was on - in all its fury. I can't understand how they escape casualties - with motorcycles, jeeps, tanks, destroyers going in all directions - and going fast! We won - OF COURSE! The Jap flag soon came down! The brief, but impressive fireworks showed our wonderful flag, in all its glory - and then, against the darkness of the night, a great and shining V stood out. With full hearts we stood and sang our national anthem. As we wended our way home, I am sure that each one of us pledged anew our full and unselfish support to the gallant lads, fighting for us on land and sea.

Yours for Victory,
Florence B. Taylor

Next - 10/15/42 - A Grape Day for Travelling

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