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Today in World War II History—July 4, 1943

Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski, 1942 (Library of Congress)

Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski, 1942 (Library of Congress)

75 Years Ago—July 4, 1943: Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski, leader of Polish government-in-exile and commander of Polish forces, dies in a plane crash at Gibraltar.

First residents move into secret city of Oak Ridge TN, built for Manhattan Project workers.

Today in World War II History—July 3, 1943

All-American, a B-17F almost severed in half by a collision over Tunisia. The pilot compensated for the lost and damaged controls and brought the plane home. Miraculously, even the tail gunner survived. (US Air Force photo)

All-American, a B-17F almost severed in half by a collision over Tunisia. The pilot compensated for the lost and damaged controls and brought the plane home. Miraculously, even the tail gunner survived. (US Air Force photo)

75 Years Ago—July 3, 1943: New song in Top Ten: “Comin’ in on a Wing and a Prayer,” based on stories of US bomber crews in North Africa.

Book Beat – Engraved on the Heart, by Tara Johnson

Engraved on the Heart by Tara JohnsonIn 1861 Savannah, Georgia, shy Keziah Montgomery has one goal – to survive the Ballingers’ ball without having one of the epileptic fits that mortify her parents and would destroy her marital prospects.

Dr. Micah Greyson is home from medical school in Philadelphia. With his new abolitionist views, Savannah no longer appeals to him – until he becomes reacquainted with the childhood friend he called Kizzie – who is no longer a child.

As the Civil War breaks out, Micah takes Keziah to an abolitionist meeting, and her eyes are opened to the suffering around her. She begins to see her family’s slaves as the humans they are and makes the difficult decision to help a child lost along the Underground Railroad.

As the war heats up, losses rack Savannah and the Union blockade leads to shortages and hunger. Keziah and Micah plunge deeper into clandestine activities helping slaves find freedom, but will Keziah’s epilepsy be her undoing? And can she overcome the grave dangers from within her own home?

A truly lovely debut novel. Through the eyes of an unlikely heroine awakening to the injustices of slavery, Engraved on the Heart brings Savannah, Georgia during the Civil War to life. Tara Johnson writes with honesty and compassion, undergirded with solid research. The characters are lovingly drawn, and Keziah’s growth from sheltered weakness to faithful courage is simply radiant. A book to savor and an author to watch!

Today in World War II History—July 2, 1943

US War Bond poster promoting the Tuskegee Airmen, WWII

US War Bond poster promoting the Tuskegee Airmen, WWII

75 Years Ago—July 2, 1943: Allies begin bombing of Sicilian airfields to drive German fighter planes to mainland Italy before the upcoming invasion of Sicily.

First of the Tuskegee Airmen (African-American fighter pilots) shoots down an enemy plane—Lt. Charles Hall in a P-40.

Today in World War II History—July 1, 1943

Recruiting poster for US Cadet Nurse Corps, WWII

Recruiting poster for US Cadet Nurse Corps, WWII

75 Years Ago—July 1, 1943: Congress changes WAAC (Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps) to WAC (Women’s Army Corps) effective 9/30/43.

Congress creates US Cadet Nurse Corps, which provides a free nursing education in exchange for military service.

First All-American Girls Professional Baseball League All-Star Game is played.

First night game played at Wrigley Field in Chicago, using temporary lights.

Recruiting poster for US Women's Army Corps, WWII

Recruiting poster for US Women’s Army Corps, WWII

Today in World War II History—June 30, 1943

US Marines landing on Rendova, 30 June 1943 (US National Archives)

US Marines landing on Rendova, 30 June 1943 (US National Archives)

75 Years Ago—June 30, 1943: US Sixth Army, in its first operation, lands main force on unoccupied Kiriwina and Woodlark in Trobriand Islands (Southwest Pacific).

US Army and Marines land on Rendova in the Solomons.

Depression-Era Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) are officially disbanded.

US Civilian Conservation Corps poster, 1935

US Civilian Conservation Corps poster, 1935

Today in World War II History—June 29, 1943

US aircraft national insignia, 29 June 1943

US aircraft national insignia, 29 June 1943

75 Years Ago—June 29, 1943: US national insignia for aircraft changed to “stars and bars,” with a red border around bar.

Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi about the church as the mystical body of Christ.

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower asks Coca-Cola to send 3 million bottles and build 10 bottling plants in North Africa to supply troops in Mediterranean.

Today in World War II History—June 28, 1943

Avro Lancaster bombers of RAF No.44 Squadron, 1942 (Imperial War Museum: TR 197)

Avro Lancaster bombers of RAF No.44 Squadron, 1942 (Imperial War Museum: TR 197)

75 Years Ago—June 28, 1943: Royal Air Force bombs Cologne, Germany, heavily damaging the cathedral and ending the Battle of the Ruhr—total of 872 British bombers lost.

Today in World War II History—June 27, 1943

Flag used by the Free French in WWII, with the Cross of Lorraine, symbol of the French Resistance (public domain via Wikipedia)

Flag used by the Free French in WWII, with the Cross of Lorraine, symbol of the French Resistance (public domain via Wikipedia)

75 Years Ago—June 27, 1943: French Resistance attacks Ateliers des Fives locomotive works at Lille.

P-38 Lightning fighter plane crashes on Huntington Beach in CA, killing 4 children.

Today in World War II History—June 26, 1943

Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, 1944 (Imperial War Museum: TR 2625)

Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, 1944 (Imperial War Museum: TR 2625)

75 Years Ago—June 26, 1943: Allied commanders choose Normandy over Pas de Calais for invasion of France in 1944, and appoint Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory to prepare air plans for D-day.

Map of Operation Overlord area, 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)

Map of Operation Overlord area, 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)