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WWII Exhibit Set to Open in Fargo-Moorhead Area (2/10/2014) 
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FARGO, N.D. — While members of the North Dakota National Guard were deployed in support of U.S. war efforts during World War II, those who remained behind also contributed significantly to the nation’s call. A new historical exhibit in the Fargo-Moorhead area, which opens tomorrow, promises to tell the story of men, women and children who faced struggles and triumphed back home during WWII.

The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County will be holding a reception for its new exhibit, Doing Our Part: Clay County in WWII, tomorrow from 4-7 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

“North Dakotans have a strong history of stepping up and serving in times of need,” Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general said. “This is an excellent opportunity to reflect on and recognize the efforts of the service members, families and community members that served before us.”

From the historical society press release:

The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County is proud to present Doing Our Part: Clay County in WWII, the latest Clay County history exhibit at the Hjemkomst Center.  The reception is February 11 from 4 pm to 7 pm. The reception is free and open to the public.

From the home front to the front lines of combat, Americans did their part to help win World War II, and Clay County was no exception. Doing Our Part: Clay County in WWII tells the stories of the men, women and children of Clay County who were affected by the war and how it changed the fabric of everyday life. Families sending loved ones off to war, scrap drives and rationed food became part of daily life from 1942 to 1945.

Visitor Services Coordinator Markus Krueger states, “One aspect of the war that we are going to explore is the acute shortage of farm laborers caused by thousands of local men going to war and thousands of other workers being lured away by high pay in factories in other parts of the country. When an unexpected early frost threatened Clay County’s crops in early October of 1942, the students and faculty of Moorhead State Teachers College did their part by calling off classes and declaring a three day “Onion Holiday.”  More than 200 college students went into the field to pick 20,000 bushels of onions, 5,000 bushels of potatoes and more than 200 tons of sugar beets.  It is a story reminiscent of the role of college students in emergency flood fighting efforts in 1997 and 2009.  The students took great pride in the Onion Holiday, writing several articles in the school paper, making a print cartoon (attached) and having an onion picking theme for the Sadie Hawkins dance.  Other ways of making up for the labor shortage included bringing in Mexican and Hispanic-American agricultural workers from Texas, county extension Farm Help offices for placing workers in every community, and employing German prisoners of war to work in the fields.”             

This exhibit will be on display until December 31, 2015. Within those two years, the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County will be presenting several community-wide programs that coincide with this exhibit such as a Victory Garden program and canning classes.

What: Doing Our Part: Clay County in WWII Exhibit Opening Reception
When: February 11, 201, 4-7 p.m.
Where: Hjemkomst Center, 202 1st Ave. N., Moorhead, MN 56560
Cost: Free and Open to the public

For more information about the exhibit, visit the Historical & Cultural Society of Clay County website at, or contact Tim Jorgensen at 218-299-5511 ext. 6737 or


Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 4,000 Soldiers and more than 2,400 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. About 70 percent of all members serving today have joined since that time. Currently, more than 80 North Dakota Guardsmen are mobilized for overseas service and more than 200 are on duty in Washington, D.C., and in Texas. With a total force of about 4,400 Guardsmen, the North Dakota National Guard remains ready for stateside response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.

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