In tribute to the men and women of Petaluma who served during World Wars I and II, the Petaluma Historical Library and Museum has launched a new exhibit this month, ?Petaluma During World War I and World War II,? which runs through Dec. 22.
?There was a huge war effort in Petaluma and it was pretty hands-on,? said Susan Villa, president of the Petaluma Museum. ?Everyone here had something to do in the war effort, I think more so in Petaluma than in a lot of other small towns. So we decided to do a World War I and II exhibit to showcase not just the men and women who served, but also show how the wars affected Petaluma ? from military contracts and medals to rationing.?
Among the items on display, many provided by Petalum-ans, are men and women?s uniforms, photographs, civilian and military artifacts and other memorabilia including an entire exhibit put together by the Petaluma Military Antiques Museum.
World War II veteran and Petaluma native Art Cader has a picture of his Army Air Corps crew on display. As a bomber pilot in the Pacific during the war, Cader put his life on the line 44 times to fly into enemy territory to bomb Japanese targets. Earlier this year, he was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism. The medal was awarded for a specific bombing run Cader and his crew made from Noemforr Island to Balikpapan, Borneo to bomb a strategic Japanese oil refinery. Cader and other pilots from the 5th Bomb Group flew 1,080 miles unescorted by fighters to the target. It was the longest B-24 mission in World War II. The aircraft spent more than 15 hours in the air.
?They worked really hard putting the exhibit together and I think they did a great job,? said Cader. ?There are some pictures and stories about some of the Petaluma boys that were killed and I thought that it was just great to recognize them. I think that was very important to do.?
The exhibit opened over the weekend with a display of military vehicles outside the museum along with World War I and II re-enactors in full costume providing a living history.
?I think the whole exhibit is just great,? Cader added. ?The thing that bothered me was seeing the photos of all the young people who lost their lives, but I?m glad they?re being recognized. That needed to be done.?
(Contact Yovanna Bieberich at email@example.com)