25,000 at ceremonies honoring Akron plant
|Title||25, 000 at ceremonies honoring Akron plant |
|Transcription||25,000 At Ceremonies Honoring Akron Plant
By JOSEPH E. KUEBLER
THE ARMY AND NAVY gave a pat on the back to one division of Akron's ever-growing production force Monday night and then cautioned these same workers that the production fight "has been scarcely begun, although it has been well begun."
A cheering throng in flood-lighted Firestone stadium was told by Undersecretary of War Robert P. Patterson that "your job has not been completed" that despite all of America's achievements since Pearl Harbor, "long months of warfare lie ahead."
The chief of the army's production forces flew here from Washington to personally bestow on the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. and its employes(sic) the nation's highest decoration for "distinguished service in the war" the joint army and navy "E" award.
The vast Firestone production machine was halted briefly while the workers, their families and other townsmen gathered to witness the ceremony. It was the first time that an American rubber company has been so honored in this war.
In addition to the estimated 25,000 in the stadium, an unseen radio audience running into the millions heard Patterson and Rear Admiral C. H. Woodward, representing the navy, commend the Akron plant and its workers. The program was broadcast to the four corners of the nation over 125 stations of the National Broadcasting Co. on the weekly "Voice of Firestone" hour.
Patterson was realistic and yet not pessimistic in his talks. He reminded the men and women who are making scores of products for the armed forces that the red and blue production pennant unfurled during the evening "is not yet a sign of victory."
"The going is tough and will be tougher as the stresses of war increase" he said. "There will be moments when you will feel like complaining. There will be times of fear and peril.
'HELP YOU TO REMEMBER'
"This flag" he pointed out, "is raised to help you to remember that in a war a soldier does his duty, whether that duty calls him to walk a lonely sentry vigil in the rain, or to crawl down in the mud, or to man a machine in the munitions factory.
"These are dangerous times. Yet some of us have not understood the stakes of this struggle. You men and women here in the Firestone company have shown by devotion to your job that you understand the stakes. You have proved your right to freedom by exerting your best efforts to defend it."
Patterson declared that some "reckless, careless individuals remain indifferent, seeking profits as usual, luxury as usual, indolence as usual, in the midst of total war."
He emphasized that these people must learn that victory is won not by acquiescent patriotism, and flag-waving and applause, but "by the sweat of workers and the blood of soldiers pulling together in one mighty team."
'SYMBOL OF UNITY'
"This army-navy production board which I have the privilege of presenting here is a symbol of the unity between the armed forces of production which is going to give us victory" the secretary said.
"Without you, thousands of American soldiers and sailors and marines would be sacrificed needlessly. Without you we could not avenge the lives of American soldiers, sailors, nurses, marines and civilians which already have been lost. Without you, we could not hope to liberate the hungry Americans now held in Japanese prison camps."
Harvey S. Firestone, jr., president of Firestone and son of the late founder, accepted the coveted award in behalf of the company.
"It shall serve" he said, "as a continuing inspiration to all of us to strive for increased quality and quantity of production in further contribution to the war effort and final victory."
PAYS TRIBUTE TO WORKERS
Firestone paid tribute to the men and women in his organization "whose loyalty, skill and efficiency have won the nation's highest industrial tribute" and to the companies who have acted as subcontractors "for their splendid assistance."
Presentation of the army-navy "E" lapel pins which went to every Firestone worker today was made by Admiral Woodward, who flew to Akron with Patterson for the ceremonies.
The admiral pinned the merit badge on C. F. Richmond, president of Firestone local No. 7, United Rubber Workers of America, as the representative of all the employes.
"Your production" Woodward said, "has been as versatile as it has been voluminous. Your belief in the four freedoms is amply demonstrated by your efforts."
RICHMOND PLEDGES SUPPORT
As spokesmen for the production forces, Richmond pledged "to the commander-in-chief, to our army and navy, and to our own boys who are serving in the armed forces, that "we shall support you, we shall produce for you, we shall give you everything we can so that victory can be ours."
The ceremonies were conducted on a platform especially built for the occasion in the grandstand of the stadium. The backdrop was a huge assortment of evergreens and tree branches. Overhead were the red and white decorations that gave a picturesque touch to the occasion.
Several hundred guests, including army and navy representatives, veteran Firestone employes and leaders of Akron's civic and business life were on the platform.
Mayor George J. Harter who welcomed the naval and military leaders, hailed the award as a "tribute to the spirit of Akron."
Three of the five sons of the late Harvey S. Firestone, who now are in the armed services, returned to Akron for the ceremonies and were presented by Hugh James, NBC announcer, who was the master of ceremonies. They are Lieut. Leonard K. Firestone and Lieut. Roger S. Firestone of the navy, and First Lieut. Raymond C. Firestone of the army.
A fourth brother, Russell A. Firestone, general manager of the Nebraska Ordnance Corp., accompanied his mother, Mrs. Harvey S. Firestone, sr., wife of the founder of the company.
Among the others presented were Congressman Dow W. Harter; John W. Thomas, chairman of the board of Firestone; Col. A. R. Ginsburgh, military aide to the undersecretary of war; Col. H. M. Reedall, chief of the Cleveland ordnance district; Col. Horace Miller of the New Zealand army; Col. A. L. Tuttle, commandant of the R.O.T.C. at Akron university; Lieut. Col. M. D. Tremlin of the army air forces; Com. C. V. S. Knox, Com. W. P. Bacon and Com. I. J. VanKammen of the navy.
A 55-piece "Voice of Firestone" band, recruited from Cleveland and Akron musicians only Monday, presented a concert before and after the ceremonies. The band was under the direction of Alfred Wallenstein, noted conductor and "Voice of Firestone" musical director. Richard Crooks, famed tenor, was the soloist. |
|Description||The Undersecretary of War honors Firestone Tire and Rubber Company for their distinguished service during World War II. |
|Subject||Firestone Tire and Rubber Company|
|Names||Patterson, Robert P.|
|Creator||Kuebler, Joseph E. |
|Publisher||Akron Beacon Journal|
|Contributors||Akron-Summit County Public Library|
|Format||6 in. x 10 in. |
|Source||FT_Akron plant honored.jpg |
|Relation||Business & Government pamphlet files|
|Rights||Copyright owned by the Akron Beacon Journal |