Stories from the S.S. Mount Whitney – August 1946: A volatile time to be in Gdansk

On its maiden livestock voyage, the S.S. Mount Whitney docked in Nowy Port, Poland – Gdansk’s port city – August 8, 1946, with its load of nearly 1500 horses. Since “liberating” Gdansk from the Germans in March 1945 and obliterating the once beautiful city to ruins in the process, Russia had been tightening its vice on the city and the country.

The ruins of Gdansk, Poland, August 1946. Photo by James Brunk.

Between the Russian and Polish police, Russian soldiers, and Polish resisters, the unrest made it an unstable place for seagoing cowboys to roam.

“About a minute after this picture was taken, snipers shot and killed the soldiers in this car,” says cowboy Alvin Zook. Photo by Alvin Zook.

“Russians were everywhere,” said cowboy James Brunk. “Their headquarters was a large building in Gdynia with Stalin’s picture up on the front. If anyone was seen taking a picture of the building, the film was immediately confiscated and destroyed.”

Leonard Vaughn managed to get a shot of the Russian headquarters on his first trip to Poland in May, 1946. Accounts differ as to whether this was in Gdynia or Gdansk. Photo by Leonard Vaughn.

Cowboy foreman Leonard Vaughn, had made some Polish friends on his previous trip to Gdansk in May. He and two shipmates set out after supper the day their ship arrived to visit the Porlanski family in the nearby town of Wrzeszcz. “A French-speaking Pole attached himself to us and we couldn’t shake him off,” Vaughn said in his journal. After having tea with the couple, the foursome left. “I wanted to walk home, but Frenchy didn’t,” Vaughn continued. “Soon we were completely lost. Frenchy wanted something to eat, so I gave him some money and told him we’d walk slowly on. As soon as he left, we ran. We walked and walked. We crossed a field and expected to get shot at. We came to a railroad and followed it. Every so often we met Polish workers and we asked ‘Nowy Port’ and they kept pointing the way we were going. Then we came to a dark place. Suddenly a shot rang out. We were paralyzed. In a moment we saw a cigarette light in the darkness. I yelled ‘Amerikanski’ and someone answered “Russki”. They were 2 Russian soldiers. We said ‘UNRRA’ and they nodded. We said ‘Nowy Port” and they pointed. We shook hands and left. I was really frightened. Soon we came to a road and we got on it. All at once it ended and there were 3 men. One was a Polish soldier, and all three spoke German. They told us to follow them and they led us thru fields and woods. We expected to get shot at any moment. Soon we came to a road and there stood Frenchy. But we went on and were handed over to another guard. This guard after a little walk handed us over to 2 boys. They were grand kids and I promised to visit them. I was so happy to see the ship that I almost had a heart attack. I never expected to see it again.”

Vaughn, Brunk, and shipmate Alvin Zook all noted another unsettling incident when the stevedores went on strike. “After about three days,” Brunk said, “a man on the dock was trying to get them to go back to work. They found out he was a ‘Russian secret policeman’. They charged him – killed him with a brick. That evening the Russians rounded them up, shot 56 of them in the town square, sent the rest of them off to Siberia. We had a new group of stevedores the next morning.” Zook noted, “They were only making 90 cents a day in our money. It was costing some of them 70 cents just to get to work.”

Zook was with a group of cowboys who toured a nearby battlefield. Bodies of German soldiers still lay among the brush, in trenches, and in an armored vehicle.

Seagoing cowboys tour a battlefield near Gdansk, Poland, August 1946. Photo by James Brunk.

Shell casings on the battlefield near Gdansk, Poland, August 1946. Photo by Alvin Zook.

Being a Sunday morning, the group sat down on a bunch of shell casings next to a large gun that had jammed to have a worship service. “A young man from Minot, North Dakota, told the Christmas story, and it was very real to us,” Zook said. “Peace on earth, good will to men.”

Stories from the S.S. Mount Whitney: Ship Breaks Records

Mount Whitney is not only the name of the highest mountain in the United States, it is the name of the largest and fastest of the ships used by UNRRA for transporting livestock in 1946. A C4-S-A4 type ship, she rolled off the line of the Kaiser shipyard in Vancouver, Washington, February 21, 1946, and was converted in Boston for carrying cattle. She made her first voyage as a livestock ship for UNRRA July 28, 1946.

The S.S. Mount Whitney ready to load in Newport News, VA, July 26, 1946. Photo by James Brunk.

According to seagoing cowboy Luke Bomberger, the ship measured 522 feet long and 72 feet across. “This is a pretty wide ship,” he said, “and we therefore had a double row of stalls on each of the port and starboard sides,” instead of the normal row of single stalls on Victory and Liberty ships. The Mount Whitney stalls could accommodate 1500 horses, about double the capacity of the Victory ships and four to five times that of Liberty ships.

The Times-Herald newspaper of Newport News, Virginia, gave considerable attention to this maiden livestock voyage of the Mount Whitney. On July 25, the paper reported the loading of the ship would be delayed for degaussing work, a demagnetizing procedure to help ships be less susceptible to Nazi magnetic mines still floating in the waters. The next day’s paper reported on the loading of a “tremendous amount” of feed:

Fifteen hundred head of horses can’t live as cheaply as one, not by a long sight. . . . Now being taken on at Pier 5 are the following items: 1,200,000 pounds of hay, 89 tons of oats and a large quantity of bran.

Hay being loaded on the S.S. Mount Whitney on a later trip. Photo by Wilbert Zahl.

Bags of oats ready to be loaded on the S.S. Mount Whitney on a later trip. Photo by Wilbert Zahl.

On July 29, the paper reported on the Mount Whitney‘s departure from the Terminal Stockyards at noon the day before:

A quick trip to Poland is in prospect as the Mount Whitney has a top speed of 20 knots. . . .
The ship already has shattered two records – in the amount of livestock taken on board and the number of livestock handlers carried on the trip to care for the animals. Eighty such workers are on the ship, while the average UNRRA craft requires only from 32 to 35.

48 of the 80 seagoing cowboys on the S.S. Mount Whitney, August 1946. Photo courtesy of Levi Miller.

Aside from seasickness and complaints about the food, the 80 seagoing cowboys enjoyed a fairly uneventful trip across the Atlantic. Being a larger vessel, the ship did not take the usual route to Poland through the Kiel Canal. She traveled up around Scotland and Denmark to the Baltic Sea, arriving in Nowy Port, Poland, August 8.

“How changed everything is!” noted cowboy foreman Leonard Vaughn, who had made earlier trips to Poland. “The ruins are being cleared away. There is rebuilding. There aren’t the crowds of dirty children.” Luke Bomberger, having been to Poland in November 1945 and April 1946, made a similar observation. Nevertheless, cowboy crew members had some hair-raising experiences while there.

~to be continued

 

A Christmastime Seagoing Adventure

An anonymous member of the SS Frederic C Howe seagoing cowboy crew penned this poem about their trip to Trieste, Italy, the end of 1946.

“I’ve sailed the seven seas my lad, I’ve sailed the seven seas,”
the captain very calmly said to Jimmy on his knees.
“Tell me more,” young Jimmy said, “Will you, dad? Please do.
Tell me all about your trips out on the ocean blue.
“Ok, ok,” the cap replied, “I hardly know what’s best,
But I shall tell you some about my last trip to Trieste.”

Loading horses onto the Frederic C Howe in Newport News, Virginia, November 1946. Photo credit: Henry Weaver, Jr.

“We docked along the cattle pier one night at half past nine,
And on rushed the cowboys, a thirty-two man line.
They grabbed and growled, and clawed and fought till each a sack had won.
And acted like a bunch of kids just out to have some fun.
These boys, oh me, they were a mess. I’ve never seen the beat.
My lad, my lad, what boys they were; you should have seen them eat.

Seasick cowboys. Photo credit: Henry Weaver, Jr.

“The first day out they all got sick, at least all but a few.
They didn’t work, they didn’t eat, but oh how they did spew.
No matter when I took a look along the metal rail,
I saw a bunch of cowboys, sick and deathly pale.
A few of them, as I recall, acted like happy boys
And hopped and skipped and jumped around like kids with brand new toys.

On deck of the Frederic C Howe. Photo credit: Henry Weaver, Jr.

“Now when the deck crew put to work, to raise some hay or oats,
I nearly toppled off the bridge to see how young was ‘Boats’.
But as I watched from day to day, their work was very good,
When chow time rolled around at night, they’d earned their daily food.
They very seldom beefed or griped or gave me any sass,
But my, they hated quite a bit to raise a half-dead ass.

“The boys who laboured day and night down in the engine room,
Were still a different bunch from those who manned the boom.
They usually kept her going right, the prop would spin and whirl,
And leave behind us on the blue a foamy, frothy swirl.
But every other day or so along our pleasant hop,
The ship got very tired, and so they’d let her stop.

“One more group I’ll tell you of, they ate in the saloon.
For them the trip across the deep was ended none too soon.
The first mate was a splendid guy, the third was quite a clown,
The second always liked to sleep, but never let me down.
Young Sparks, the vets, and all the rest who had their chow with me
Would whistle loudly every time the purser’s girl they’d see.

Seagoing cowboys on the Frederic C Howe, December 1946. Photo credit: Henry Weaver, Jr.

“Now lad, the trip itself was very fine, especially for one thing.
We missed the holidays at home, the songs by Frank and Bing.
We missed the crowds, the Christmas rush, the trouble and turmoil,
No trees to bother fixing up, no gifts, no wrappers, no foil.
But my we had a lot of fun, we really had a spree,
With songs, poems, and everything, a regular jamboree.”

My thanks to Henry “Hank” Weaver, Jr. for sharing his slides with me!


Wishing all my readers a blessed holiday season ~
Peggy

 

SS Battle Creek Victory podcast

In my post of November 25, I promised to send out the link to Michael Delaware’s podcast interview with me about the SS Battle Creek Victory when it went live — which it did on November 27. I’m sorry to have been so slow in getting this out!

The SS Battle Creek Victory docked in Greece, July 1946. Photo by Wayne Silvius.

Here’s the link. Enjoy!

And thanks Michael Delaware for sharing this wonderful history!

~ Peggy

 

 

Victory Ships Get New Life

I have much to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving season. Next to a loving and supportive family, at the top of the list are faithful readers like you and meaningful work. And in the realm of the latter, exciting things have been happening the past several months.

The end of July, I received an email that added a new thread to my already multifaceted seagoing cowboy research. Michael Delaware, host of the podcast “Tales of Southwest Michigan’s Past,” contacted me. He told me Battle Creek’s Mayor had just received a letter that day from the US Maritime Administration saying that they would like to donate the bell from the SS Battle Creek Victory to the Battle Creek Regional History Museum. Michael, a member of the museum’s board, had found a photo of the ship on my blog and wanted whatever information I could give him about the ship.

The SS Battle Creek Victory docked in Greece, July 1946. Photo by Wayne Silvius.

As it turns out, the museum received both the bell and the wheel from the ship. These artifacts were unveiled in a ceremony at the museum on November 12.

Then in early September, I received an email from Frank Lott, the Executive Director of the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center in Clarksville, Tennessee. He was seeking information on the SS Clarksville Victory and had also found my blog in his search.

SS Clarksville Victory after delivering horses to Poland, January 1946. Photo by Paul Bucher.

His museum had recently been gifted the hull plate from the ship named after their city. This artifact was unveiled at an appreciation event for the museum’s benefactors on November 5.

On October 10, my Google alert picked up an article in the Carroll, Iowa, newspaper about the town having received the hull plate from the SS Carroll Victory, on which I recently did a series of posts.

SS Carroll Victory at anchor, Spring 1947. © Charles Lord.

I realized that something was happening here! I contacted the Maritime Administration to see what other of UNRRA’s livestock ships might have had artifacts that were sent to their namesake cities or universities. Turns out there are seven more. Plus additional ships whose artifacts have not yet been sent. Maritime Administration’s curator Dan Roberts tells me that MARAD has artifacts from 90 Victory ships. Of those, about 18 had served as UNRRA livestock ships. They also have artifacts from seven Liberty ships used by UNRRA’s livestock program.

The Maritime Administration’s distribution program opens up a new arena in which to share the little-known seagoing cowboy history. Michael Delaware invited me to join him on a podcast this month talking about the Battle Creek Victory (I’ll send out the link when it goes live), with plans for an in-person program at the museum in the coming year. And Frank Lott has invited me to speak at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center in February or March. I’m excited about these new opportunities to share the seagoing cowboy story. Details will be posted on my http://www.seagoingcowboys.com events page when available.

Another aspect of this history I’m learning about through these contacts is the naming and launching of the Victory ships. I’ll write about that in my next post.

In case you missed it, here’s a previous post from 2015 on the ships UNRRA used for their livestock program.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend!
Peggy

How a novel turned into a blog

This will be a more personal post. At my presentations, I am often asked how I got into this seagoing cowboy history. So today, I’ll share that story with you.

It all started with an envelope of my Grandpa Abe’s photos my father gave me some years after grandpa died.
Turns out, Grandpa Abe had been a seagoing cowboy, accompanying a load of horses to Poland the end of September 1946.

I grew up in the Church of the Brethren, the denomination responsible for recruiting all of the livestock tenders for UNRRA’s shipments of farm animals to Europe after World War II. From my youth magazines, I knew about these “seagoing cowboys.” But I DIDN’T know that my grandpa had been one of them. He never talked about it with us grandkids, and we never knew to ask. I knew there were a couple of Polish dolls in grandpa’s attic where we grandkids often played, but I didn’t make the connection until seeing his photos.

After receiving that envelope of photos, I got curious about what grandpa’s trip may have been like. So in January 2002, I interviewed a man from our church, Al Guyer, who I knew had been a seagoing cowboy to Poland. The end of that year, I signed up for a book writing course through the Institute of Children’s Literature to write a young adult novel. Grandpa’s photos and stories of Al Guyer’s eventful trip kept beckoning to me, and I thought, what a great topic! The trip of a 16-year-old seagoing cowboy to Poland! My instructor agreed. The topic was “something new and different under the sun,” she said. Being historical fiction, it would require a great deal of research, so I sought out more seagoing cowboys to interview.

Interviewing J. O. Yoder about his trip to Poland on the S. S. Clarksville Victory in December 1945.

One cowboy led to another, and another, and another. And their stories were so fascinating and compelling that I was hooked! It didn’t take long to realize that this was a rich history, just hiding away in people’s minds, and drawers, and attics, and my mission changed to that of documenting this little-known, not-to-be-forgotten history of how men of all stripes delivered hope to a war-torn world. I’ve been at it for twenty years now, accumulating a sizable archive of cowboy photos and stories too significant to just sit on my shelves.

In 2007, I created a DVD documentary photostory, A Tribute to the Seagoing Cowboys, which I took on a Tribute Tour around the country meeting more cowboys and gathering their stories.

Meeting and hearing from seagoing cowboys at Brethren Village retirement community in Lititz, PA, April 14, 2009.

I started my seagoing cowboys website in 2008, and what a game changer that was! I began to get requests for information of all types related to this history from as far away as Poland, Germany, Finland, and Japan. Inadvertently, I had become the recognized “expert” on the seagoing cowboys and the related history of the Heifer Project.

My novel did get drafted and revised, and revised, and revised, but never published. Instead, it sort of morphed into my children’s picture book The Seagoing Cowboy. In the summer of 2014, while that book was in the works, I decided the best way to get more of this history out into the world was to start a blog. And I’ve been at it ever since.

 

The Longest Ride – Part XI: Homeward Bound!

Good news awaited the cowboy crew of the S. S. Carroll Victory when they pulled into port at Piraeus, Greece, March 7, 1947, with their 277 South African horses and 278 mules. “The UNRRA man here says there won’t be another trip back to South Africa,” Charlie Lord wrote his wife. “I think its probably because of the poor quality of horses. Of our last load 150 have died they say. Also because the Agriculture branch of UNRRA may fold any day, was supposed to on March 1. The last order the Captain has is to come straight to the States.”

During the short stay in Piraeus to unload the horses and manure, Lord had one more wish on this third stop in Greece. He and two other cowboys went to the UNRRA office to inquire. “I asked about how we could get two boxes of BSC relief food past customs and they told me. Then I asked if I could get to an UNRRA horse anywhere near Athens and take pictures of it and the family that owned it. After considerable telephoning, they found where some horses were. The UNRRA official took the 3 of us out to a jeep, he and his driver drove us over the most pilled and bumpy roads I have ever seen out to a little town. There we found a horse in a stable. The man brought it out.” Lord took pictures to his heart’s content of the horse and family, the woman and girls running a loom and spinning wheel in their home, and another UNRRA horse coming back from plowing.

Greek farmer with his UNRRA horse. March 1947. © Charles Lord

Greek farmer’s family in their work room. March 1947. © Charles Lord

“I feel I’ve covered the field now,” Lord said. “I’m finished with Athens.”

By March 10, the ship was on its way home, but a pleasure trip it was not. While in the Mediterranean, the cowboys were tasked with the job of cleaning the livestock holds – twice, as the first day’s work didn’t pass the Chief Steward’s inspection.

Cowboys at work cleaning the stalls on the S. S. Carroll Victory, March 1947. © Charles Lord

Approaching Gibraltar, Lord wrote, “Everyone is getting a little bit excited about our approaching Atlantic passage to the wonderful States. This has been a very long trip, even for regular seamen, and merchant marines.” Uncooperative weather, however, stretched a trip across the Atlantic that took ten days on the trip over to thirteen on the way home. The ship ran into gale force winds most of the way across, slowing it down considerably.

On March 22, Lord’s shipmate Maynard Garber noted in his journal, “The wind is blowing at a mighty gale and waves 75 [feet] high appear like mountains when we go down with a 40 degree angle. The ship is pitching like a seesaw so our speed is cut down to 10 knots or else the ship would break up. We still have 1250 miles yet to go.”

“Prow of Carroll Victory up after it just smacked its nose down into a big one,” Lord notes. “White caps show wind was over 50 mph. Sometimes it was 70. We were on edge of hurricane.” © Charles Lord

Lord noted, “Like the old Model T, we travel further up and down than we do ahead. . . . Richter said he had a book on the side of his bed. It was rather weird to see the book rise from the bed, sit in mid-air, then fall on the floor.” After a particularly rough night, Lord said, “About 1:30 this morning this old tub really bounced. All the light bulbs on the fan tail [quarters] screwed out from vibration during the night and broke on the floor. . . . It took me a long time to get to sleep, what with sliding one way and then the other on my sheet.”

Course of the moon on a rough night, taken with the camera held solid to the ship with the lens open. © Charles Lord

Weather wasn’t the crew’s only problem. On leaving Gibraltar May 15, Lord had noted, “Our food supplies are getting low. We’ve been out of butter for about 4 days. They say we have 200 lbs of flour left, enough for about 6 days.” By the 19th, he wrote, “The whole ship is on bread rationing. Yesterday we got 2 slices of bread per meal. Today it was 1 slice per meal.” March 25, three days before reaching New York, Lord said, “We haven’t had any white bread for 2 days, flour is all gone. Had corn bread for lunch that had cereal or something in it, too. Only powdered eggs yesterday and today. Our food is running out. They say that yesterday the captain said, ‘Full speed ahead. We’d just as well drown as starve to death.” Neither was their fate. On March 28 the S. S. Carroll Victory safely reached New York.

Approaching New York City, March 28, 1947. © Charles Lord

Garber noted, “Today at noon we at last saw the Statue of Liberty. It was foggy so we were close before we saw it. This afternoon we dropped anchor out in bay and will be on the boat until the customs have cleared us.

The S. S. Carroll Victory outside New York City, March 1947, soon to be retired as a livestock ship and move on to further adventures. © Charles Lord

Garber concludes his journal: “Thus after 143 days on ship, we spent 89 days on the sea, 54 days ashore and 46 days at work.”

On the inside cover he quoted this Walt Whitman poem:

The untold want by life and land ne’er granted,
Now voyager sail thou forth to seek and find.

And so the seagoing cowboys of the S. S. Carroll Victory had.

The seagoing cowboy crew and Captain of the S. S. Carroll Victory, March 1947. Photo by Paul Beard.

Peggy Reiff Miller to speak at Dayton International Peace Museum

If you live near Dayton, Ohio, I invite you to come to my presentation at the International Peace Museum, 10 N. Ludlow Street, on Saturday, October 15. I’m excited about this opportunity to share the wonderful story of how the seagoing cowboys and the Heifer Project helped to build peace from the rubble of World War II.

The Longest Ride – Part X: Revisiting Durban

What was meant to be a 2½-month journey, now entered its fourth month as the S. S. Carroll Victory pulled into Durban, South Africa, a second time on Saturday, February 8, 1947. Add the time spent in Newport News waiting out a maritime strike, and Charlie Lord had been away from his wife for nearly half a year and was itching to get home, as she was to have him home. Responding to six letters he received from her on arrival in Durban, he said, “The shipping business is apparently the most uncertain business in the world. When a freighter leaves on a trip they never know how long the trip will take. . . . Yes, it was rather unfair for BSC to estimate this trip at 2½ months, because they should have known it would be longer. Of course they didn’t know we would pick up cargo at Haifa and unload it at Beira (2 weeks) and Durban (2-3 days). . . .

“I’m not the only one that’s ‘fouled up by the fickle finger of fate’ as Sesser says. Half a dozen of our cowboys were planning to start college terms in the first days of February. They have one by one seen the opening days of their colleges come and go. It means missing a term of college for them.”

Lord took advantage of the unloading and reloading time in Durban to dig further into the mix of cultures there. When he learned there was to be a Zulu dance Sunday afternoon, he grabbed his cameras to photograph it. “It was interesting but not nearly as much as the dance at Beira,” he said.

Zulu dance, Durban, South Africa, February 9, 1947. © Charles Lord

The next night, four of the cowboys went to the International Club for a demonstration on portrait photography. Lord took his camera and flash gun along, wanting “to take a shot of Europeans, natives and Indians sitting side by side at a meeting – a tiny spot of democracy in the middle of South Africa.”

The wife of the editor of an Indian newspaper in Durban, South Africa, poses for a demonstration on portrait photography at Durban’s International Club, February 10, 1947. © Charles Lord

Lord spent another day immersed in Indian culture, guided by contacts made during his first stop in Durban. He and three other of the cowboy photographers toured Sastri College, a high school and teachers college for Indians, and were taken into homes to photograph families and the Hindu temple where they worshipped.

An Indian woman cooks for her family in Durban, South Africa, February 12, 1947. © Charles Lord

An Indian farmer in Durban, South Africa, sorting egg plants, February 10, 1947. © Charles Lord

“We came home feeling that this day we had accomplished something really worthwhile,” Lord said, “had got a pretty representative picture of an Indian family on film, instead of snaps shooting monument and tourist spots.”

A desire Lord had on his first stop in Durban came to fruition this time. Through his Quaker contacts, he and two others had the opportunity to spend a couple of days at Adams College about 20 miles outside Durban, a Christian mission school for natives, as well as the Adams Mission day school.

The boys’ dormitory at Adams College, Amanzimtoti, South Africa, February 13, 1947. © Charles Lord

An 8th grade boy and 9th grade girl students at Adams College, February 13, 1947. © Charles Lord

Children marching in to Adams Mission Day School, February 13, 1947. © Charles Lord

They visited natives in their huts, some where students of Adams Mission Day School lived. “It was a very interesting hut on the inside. The floor was hard and smooth made by mixing cow dung and black earth from ant hills. It is hygienic and durable. The ceiling was shiny black, almost dripping from the smoke from fires in the hearth in the center.”

The grandmother of one of the Adams Mission Day School students in their hut. © Charles Lord

Quite a contrast to the Adams College buildings.

When Lord arrived back at the ship the evening of February 15, he wrote his wife, “The news is heart-breaking. They are to pull the Carroll out into the stream tomorrow and bring us in Tuesday to be loaded. 4 more days delay! No one knows why.” His frustrations grew four days later. “The dad-blamed UNRRA officials are putting only 555 horses on our ship, and the Creighton Victory which is also here now. And the one of them will have to come back.”

Everyone was on pins and needles until the Carroll Victory pulled out for Greece with their cargo of mules and horses February 21 with the welcome news that the Creighton Victory would be making the return trip to Durban. “It sure feels good to be out at sea again,” Lord told his wife, “especially since every mile is one mile closer to you.”

to be continued

Special Post: International Day of Peace

On this International Day of Peace, I honor the Seagoing Cowboys
who helped usher in peace after World War II.

A seagoing cowboy reflects on visiting the memorial being built where the first shots of World War II had been fired. Gdansk, Poland, July 1946. Photo by Charles Shenk.

Seagoing cowboy Guy Buch, fluent in German, is being interviewed by German media. Buch was part of a special crew of Church of the Brethren seminary and college students intent on having dialogue with German Christians. Bremen, West Germany, July 1946. Photo courtesy of Guy Buch.

Another special crew tested whether black and white seagoing cowboys could work together on the same ship. The cowboys pray together on their return from Poland to the United States. July 1946. Photo by Ben Kaneda.

On this International Day of Peace,
I also honor the Brethren Service Committee and the Heifer Project
whose mission it was to build peace in a war-torn world.

Seagoing cowboy Martin Strate shakes the hand of a Japanese official after a ceremony to celebrate Heifer Project’s shipment of 25 bulls to Japan, May 1947. Photo by Norman Hostetler.

A “Campaign for Peace Action” brochure of the Church of the Brethren Peace Education Department, circa late 1940s. Courtesy of Heifer International archives.

May peace prevail in these troubled times.

~ Peggy Reiff Miller