‘Christmas at the Armory in WWII’ Slated for Dec. 22
SPRINGFIELD — Join Ranger Susan Ashman on Saturday, Dec. 22 for her holiday program, “Christmas at the Armory in WWII.” The program begins at 2 p.m. in the museum theater and continues with a tour of the Commandant’s House on the grounds of the national historic site. Admission is free.
During WWII, the Springfield Armory celebrated Christmas with time off from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. Office and shop parties were held as well, both at the Armory and in downtown hotels. During wartime, the somber realities of the cost of total war steadily showed itself as critical materials and personnel were increasingly engaged to fight the Axis powers.
Rationing affected everyone, even during the holiday season. Christmas trees were stripped of their aluminum tinsel strips and glass, to be replaced with homemade substitutes. Before long, popular Christmas music also changed, reflecting separation and longing of loved ones, as in “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and “White Christmas.”
After the presentation, join Ashman for a rare tour inside the Commandant’s House. Built in 1845-46 at a cost of $24,900, it has been occupied by 34 superintendents and commandants, starting with Major James Ripley and ending with Lt. Col. C.B. Zumwalt when the Armory was closed in April 1968.