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Even milkweed pods have place in York County – World War II – history

Milkweed pods are opening about now around York County, Pa. They’re largely ignored nowadays, but in World War II they were coveted. Also of interest: All World War II posts from the start and World War II torpedo, bomb loader, made in York, Pa., turns up in Tennessee museum and Explosions heard around York County after World War II-era ‘experts’ give canning advice.

For years – decades – York Daily Record/Sunday News photographer Bil Bowden has captured visual moments in and around York County.
In the last post, his work is displayed after he visited remote Wildcat Falls along the river road, north of Wrightsville.
Now he has grabbed a milkweed pod opening.
Of course, there is a story from history – World War II, to be specific – surrounding this little-noticed plant, and my “In the Thick of the Fight,” gives a summary:

“Even milkweed pods held value, and students were called upon to collect them. At one point, York County school children picked 2,100 bags of the pods. The lighter-than-water pods were shipped to Michigan, where the floss was extracted and used to fill life jackets.”

This story, brought up again by Bil’s photography, shows how fully involved men, women – and children – were as Americans fought for their lives in a two-front battle against the Axis in World War II.

For my York Sunday New column of World War II’s impact on York County – and vice versa – visit: Local World War II history roundup.

Also of interest:

Here’s a bit more about milkweed use in World War II.