In all wars, soldiers sacrifice: time with their families; health and well-being; sleep and comfort; and far too often, their lives. But in wars past, there was a greater sense of shared sacrifice than there is today, with the family and community members left behind finding their own role in what was called the "war effort".
During World War II, women were called to work for the war effort. They took on non-combat roles, they worked in the munitions factories, and they became heads of households as husbands and fathers were conscripted.
Victory Gardens were encouraged to increase production of fresh vegetables. Women were urged to "can all you can" to provide winter food for the household. Victory Gardens were seen as a way to stretch ration cards, free up food supplies for the troops, and reduce the need to transport food by increasing local production, thereby saving fuel.
According to the National WWII Museum website (linked above), at the height of WWII, there were 20,000,000 Victory Gardens producing 40% of all fresh vegetables grown in the United States. Over the course of the war, that was the equivalent of more than a million tons of fresh produce.
The home front mentality, the sense that we are all part of the war effort, seems largely absent from our country during our current decade of war. Without the draft, fewer families have loved ones serving in the armed forces and there is no organized national effort to save or conserve resources in order to support our troops. Yet in a world where war is increasingly about shrinking resources -- oil, gas, and yes, food -- the war effort on the home front could radically decrease our dependence on foreign oil and imported foods. So today, thank a veteran, drive a little less, and start looking for a sunny spot in your yard for a spring Victory Garden. We can all be superheroes in this fight: