When an enemy strikes, Americans never shy away from rising to the call of action. COVID-19 has devastated the economy, and so many lives have been lost to this global pandemic. Medical teams, grocers, and law enforcement have been mobilized to provide services needed to support the fight against COVID-19. American heroes and so many others have banded together to protect Americans from further anguish and to provide hope for the future.
Earlier this year, the Museum showed powerful films that illustrated the power of community and heroes rising to the call of action as part of our “Reel History” Film series. The Museum’s Engagement team reached out to the community to invite diverse audiences to the showing of The Six Triple Eight (2019) and Minor Accident of War (2019) films.
The 6888th Postal Battalion was an all-black battalion consisting of 855 women from the Women’s Army Corps (WAC.) Their assignment was to clear the backlog of mail in Birmingham, England, and Rouen, France. "When the women of the “SixTripleEight” landed in England in February 1945, they had one of the most important missions in the European theater,” said James Theres, Director of The Six Triple Eight documentary. “To clear the backlog of mail. By the end of the war, they processed for delivery over 17 million pieces of mail.”
Learn more about this documentary here.
A Minor Accident of War (2019) was based on a poem by writer, poet, and WWII veteran Edward Field. Field flew 27 missions during World War II. Twenty years after the war, he wrote a poem about one of his missions. On February 3, 1945, his plane, The Challenger, got hit by flak and crashed into the North Sea. Of the 10 crew members, three lost their lives; one of them gave up his life for Field.
Learn more about this short film here.
Like Americans on the front lines fighting COVID-19, WWII American heroes sacrificed their lives to provide hope for the future. Members of the greatest generation banded together to do what was needed to be done. These films presented in the Reel History Film series illustrated the power of community and American heroes on the frontlines.
COVID-19 has forced us to spend more time getting to know our immediate community members. People we once walked by are now a glimpse of hope for the future. Community members are planting gardens and rationing foods and supplies. Community members are pulling together to volunteer at local food banks and other agencies providing hot meals for those in need. COVID-19 heroes are found on the front lines in nursing homes and senior centers providing care for yesterday’s heroes. During this global pandemic, community engagement means checking in on our neighbors, honoring service members on the front lines, and adhering to the advice of community leaders.
The National WWII Museum thanks our local community partners, The Women’s Resource Center at Loyola University and NOAGE: New Orleans Advocates for LGBT Elders for their assistance in bringing these important stories to New Orleans.
For more information on the ways we work with and within the Greater New Orleans Area, check out our Community Engagement webpage.
Gaynell Brady is the Public Engagement and Community Program Coordinator at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Gaynell has an MA in Museum Studies from Southern University at New Orleans. Past professional experiences include National Park Service-Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, Louisiana State Museum, and River Road African American Museum.