National Defense Week

In 1951, the week of May 13-19 was declared National Defense Week and there were parades and speeches in cities around the country as a tribute to the Armed Forces. The final day of the celebrations, May 19th, was also known as Armed Forces Day. Also on that final day, Jimmy Stewart was part of a special radio program called National Defense Week. The show was broadcast by ABC from 10:30-11 p.m. on the east coast.

As mentioned in Jimmy Stewart on the Air, the program is not available. A fairly good idea of what happened on the show can be pieced together from various newspaper previews, all appearing on the day of the broadcast.

The first, and most helpful, appeared in the Winona Republican-Herald, Winona, MN.

Winona (MN) Republican Herald 5-19-51

From this, we see that Edward Arnold served as the show’s emcee. Bob Hope, who was acting as the honorary chairman of National Defense Week, would be interviewed. Jimmy Stewart appeared as “The Unknown Soldier,” J. Carroll Naish would play the role of John Philip Sousa in a sketch and Dick Haymes would be singing The American Rainbow. The show would also include a short talk by General Omar Bradley.

Here are two other small previews which don’t add much to the picture, but do confirm some of the information in the first article. The first is from the Sheboygan Press, Sheboygan, WI, and the second from the Capital Times, Madison, WI.

Sheboygan (WI) Press 5-19-51

Capital Times, madison, WI 5-19-51