Council Asks For Proposed Budget For Display Honoring Veterans
During World War II, many West U. residents served as Air Raid Wardens, conducting black-out drills and standing watch from a wooden tower behind the old fire station to spot and identify airplanes flying over the city.
Soon, the city may have a Veteran display honoring these residents, as well as showcasing artifacts from the war. Council asked at Monday night’s meeting that a proposed budget for the project be presented at a future council meeting.
The display would include text explaining the role of the Air Raid Wardens, a steel helmet worn by Art Smith, a West U. Air Raid Warden who moved to the 6400 block of Rutgers in 1939 and lived there until his death in 1987, and an armband from West U. Air Raid Warden W.A. Hamlett.
Because metal was scarce and needed for the war effort, a shoelace was inserted into the holes to tie on the arm band. The band was left in the sun during the day to absorb the sun’s rays, and at night would glow a dull phosphorescent color. Hamlett was born in Mississippi in 1899, and moved to the 3800 block of Southwestern in 1941. He served two terms on the West U. council, from 1947-1950.
The proposed display would also include a selection from the book “Pigtails and Inkwells,” written by John W. Hamlett. Chapter 25 would be on display, which described the duties of an Air Raid Warden, performed by his father, and how he remembered those times as a child.