Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, November 4, 2007, pg. 18

With next Sunday, November 11 being Veteran’s Day, we are reminded of the dwindling number of World War II veterans in our community. This War had a great impact upon Albion. Not only did many of Albion’s young men and women enter the service, some never returned. Locally, our factories went into War production and produced items for the military for the War effort.

One major Albion employer, Union Steel Products, had at least 149 employees in active service during WWII. Their company magazine, the Union Steel Messenger, was regularly filled with photographs, letters, and news about its soldier/sailors during those War years. These issues from 1942 through 1945 are classics, and make an excellent reference source for those wishing to learn more of Albion’s contribution to the War effort.

In August, 1946 on the 1st anniversary of V-J (Victory over Japan) day, Union Steel published a special edition of the Messenger in honor of its veterans who had returned to work at USP. It was edited by Ivadene Zenoniai. The publication stated that one out of every four persons at USP was a veteran, and an “honor roll” listing of “Our Global Warriors” appeared on page 18.

This special issue of The Messenger contained numerous biographies and photographs of many of Union Steel’s veteran soldiers. This included one woman, Olivia Zenoniai, described as “USPs ‘first Wave.’” Each biography gave a synopsis of their service during the War. There also was a page in remembrance of six men who had been killed during the War: Lloyd Wendorf, Joseph Brabant, Charles Deforest, Arthur Schenman, Melvin King, and Jack Poppen.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present the cover of this special Union Steel Messenger issue, entitled “A Salute to Our Veterans.” I encourage our readers to look through World War II era copies of the Union Steel Messenger to learn more about those in Albion who served our country during this critical time in our history. Frank has numerous issues for sale.

Union Steel Messenger, Aug. 1946

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - November 1907

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