Looking back at Picatinny
A Picatinny choral group performs behind a Labor Day float in this 1943 photo. During World War II, Picatinny employees worked all holidays, including Labor Day.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- One holiday which does not inspire on-post activities is Labor Day. Rightly so, since it is theoretically a day for employees to not do things.

However, for emergency workers, it is not always a holiday.

During World War II, the country was in a state of emergency and all Picatinny employees were emergency workers. This meant they worked all holidays, including Labor Day.

The arsenal did try to mark the occasion once. The accompanying photograph shows the float and the choral group sent around to different buildings to give workers a short diversion from their routine Sept. 6, 1943. The schedule called for stops at, in order, buildings 816, 448, 382, 256 and 271. The choir sang the spiritual "Trampling" and "America the Beautiful" and led workers in the "Star Spangled Banner."

The dominant item in the photo is a 75mm pack howitzer favored by mountain and airborne divisions and for which Picatinny developed and loaded ammunition. It may be the one now in front of building 151.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16