Emerson Boltz, editor and publisher of the North Baltimore News took this photograph of North Baltimore’s South Main Street on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1947. He was standing on the west side of the street in front of the newspaper’s office.
The photograph captures the village’s tranquil atmosphere in that very short, peaceful period between the end of World War II (1939-1945) and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-53).
All the World War II servicemen had by 1947 returned home and rejoined civilian life. Although the Cold War with the Soviet Union had just begun, the threat of nuclear war was not yet a major concern. The Berlin Airlift, the first major Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union was six months away (June 1948 – May 1949).
The village was at peace.
It has been 72 years since this photo was taken, and ever since the U. S. been engaged in either a hot or cold war with a foreign adversary. Today, the world is increasingly unstable as Russia has re-emerged as a military threat, a nuclear armed North Korea threatens us, and a more powerful China is a major competitor.
At the end of 2019, there are still thousands of American military personnel engaged in combat in the Middle East and Afghanistan, our nation’s longest war (2001 to present). As we enjoy this Holiday Season with our families, we should take a moment to remember our active duty and reserve military members, veterans, and especially those who made the supreme sacrifice for our nation.