Footage from wartime Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1942
This Memorial Day Weekend we stop and reflect on the ultimate sacrifice that our men and woman in the Armed Forces have made for all of us.
In the time of war it calls for everyone to make necessary sacrifices so that the job of our military can be accomplished. I think of the war Ukraine is fighting and the sacrifices that the citizens are making and my thoughts and prayers go out to them, all of them.
In true Jersey fashion when the time of war approached, New Jersey stepped up to help our military. It was done with order and compassion and the expectations were met. There was a sense of calm and a Jersey nod that”we got this” and we did.
Many of us know the storied history of Atlantic City and its famed boardwalk but Atlantic City was an integral part of history during World War II.
It was in the summer of 1942 when Atlantic City was transformed into a community used for our soldiers to help aid in the war efforts.
As you see in the footage above, it was a mix of families trying to have a normal summer at the beach while soldiers trained, exercised and prepared for war. Couples enjoying the beach by Steel Pier, a tiny parade goes by on the boardwalk with floats pulled by hand, yet a U.S. Navy blimp floats by in the sky, and in the distance you see soldiers marching on the sand or doing calisthenics.
Hotels were transformed into barracks for a dollar a day. What is now known as Resorts was transformed into a hospital for troops wounded abroad and here in New Jersey. Historians say that Atlantic City was transformed for serving the war more than any other community in the country.
It was also a frightening time for the residents and soldiers in South Jersey as German U-Boats engaged and destroyed American vessels off the coast of the Jersey Shore. From January to August of that year Germany secretly dominated the waters off the eastern seaboard sinking fuel tankers and cargo ships.
It was understood that the key to an Allied victory would hinge on America's ability to supply Britain with war materials and much needed fuel. As America's industrial strength ramped up to help in the war efforts, so did the attacks on those supplying ships.
As Jersey has done since the beginning of time it showed its resilience and commitment to helping those when called upon. The footage is a cool slice of life here in New Jersey at that time. Trying to have a somewhat normal summer during a time of uncertainty is something I think we can all understand and appreciate right now.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.