Sunday, December 14, 2008
'Uncle Sam Wants Your Birds'
A few days ago I praised the New York Times for its engrossing obituary of an obscure but important figure in recent history, Henry Molaison, a man who lost his memory and never regained it. Today an equally fascinating obit appears, Margalit Fox's classy piece on Richard Topus, a successful food industry figure who had trained carrier pigeons for the U.S. military during World War II.
The piece goes deeply -- and fascinatingly -- into the history of pigeons used in long-distance communications. The most interesting factoid: During the war the Maidenform brassiere company manufactured paratrooper vests with pouches to carry pigeons.
"I dreamed I leaped into Normandy with the 101st Airborne in my Maidenform . . . "