The Twin Cities Prepare For War

Imagine the U.S. at war against a country which could send enemy planes to fly over major cities with bombs. That is exactly what the country was facing during WWII. You had to be prepared, and Monroe was no exception.

Among our collection is this little rare gem of a poster, asking area residents to prepare for a blackout in 1943: . At the sound of the alarm, everyone in Monroe and West Monroe had to extinguish every light in their home. If you were on the road, you had to stop your car and tur off your lights. U.S. bombers would fly overhead to see how well the cities did. If you didn’t extinguish your lights, there would be severe criminal penalties if you were caught. This was a practice drill, in case Japanese or German planes flew overhead at night. You didn’t want the enemy to know where they were just by the lights of major towns!

On one Friday night in February, 1943 the sirens sounded. Within minutes, 95% of Monroe and 100% of West Monroe achieved total blackout. We passed with flying colors. Somehow, this little poster, announcing the practice run and what to do, was preserved all the way to present day! What a piece of history!

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