Threatening Skies: Memories of World War II in West Seattle

  • By Patt Cranage
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 2268
Norma Milliman recounts her discovery of World War II flyers dropped in West Seattle: "I have vivid memories of the sky turning dark with airplanes flying over the water. The sound they made was a deep drone. This and the black out drills gave me nightmares of planes in dogfights dropping bombs and crashing in our neighborhood. My mother said I was too young to remember any of this."

"I just started kindergarten at Gatewood Elementary School. So I must have been about 5 years old (1944). Our house was about three blocks (away) if you took the street and one block if you took the path from school. I remember walking home from school and seeing these flyers littering the ground on California Avenue probably between Myrtle Street and Holly Street."

They read:

LIFE SAVING GUARANTEE

1. THE AMERICAN FORCES WILL AID ALL WHO USE THIS CARD.

2. USING THIS, YOU WILL RECEIVE GOOD TREATMENT.

HOW TO USE THIS CARD

1. COME SLOWLY TOWARD THE AMERICAN LINES WITH YOUR HANDS RAISED HIGH ABOVE YOUR HEAD CARRYING ONLY THIS CARD.

2. COME ONE BY ONE, DO NOT COME IN GROUPS.

3. MEN MUST WEAR ONLY LOIN CLOTHS. WE WILL PROVIDE CLOTHING.

4.YOU MUST NOT APPROACH AMERICAN POSITIONS AT NIGHT.

5. THIS CARD MAY BE USED BY ANYONE — JAPANESE OR KOREANS, SOLDIERS OR CIVILIANS.

6. THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE CARDS MAY COME TO US IF THEY FOLLOW THE ABOVE INSTRUCTIONS.

"I have vivid memories of the sky turning dark with airplanes flying over the water. The sound they made was a deep drone. This and the black out drills gave me nightmares of planes in dogfights dropping bombs and crashing in our neighborhood.

"My mother said I was too young to remember any of this."


Sources: Norma (Cranage) Milliman, as recounted to Patt Cranage, Seattle, 1999.

Related Topics:   War & Peace

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