You know, most of the people I visit are members of ‘The Greatest Generation’. They have shared stories with me that deserve to be told again. I want to use this blog to share some of these stories with you.
In 1945 she was working at what is now Lockheed. She went about her day doing her job with excellence and efficiency. She believed that she was making her contribution to her country when we were in a time of war. She was very proud of her work.
You see, she was a welder. Not just your run of the mill welder, but one whose work was well respected by her peers. She was 22 years old. A part of her job was to ride a bicycle all over the campus of Convair. Over the back wheel there were two tanks fastened securely. These tanks held her welding equipment and when she got a call to go, she would get on her bike and go to her destination. Everyone was in awe of her excellent work.
One day after she got home from work she got a call from Washington DC. The caller had her identify herself and said, “The office of the President was calling would she accept the call?” She replied, “Certainly I will accept the call.” Yes, President Truman was calling. President Truman praised her about her work and loyalty and he had a very important project for her. He asked if she would be willing to perform this act of service for her country and she agreed to do so.
She was instructed that one day soon she would be picked up at her home and sequestered at the Texas Hotel in Fort Worth for several days. Then the secret service would come to her and tell her what her mission would be. Can you imagine waiting — wondering what the President wanted you to do?
The day finally arrived when she found out. In the middle of the night the Secret Service men took her to Convair Air Base. They showed her a bicycle that had two tank-like containers fastened over the back wheel of the bike. It was her bicycle and she was very much aware of what was in those tanks. She was to get on the bike and ride it out on the tarmac to a plane that was waiting there for her.
It was at that moment she was told what her job was. She was to weld two auxiliary Gas tanks on to this airplane. Simple enough for some one of her ability. While she worked she happened to see some writing on the plane, two words — Enola Gay. She did not think anything about it, after she had completed her mission, she rode the bike back to the Secret Service men. They returned her to her home.
On Monday August 6, 1945 the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. It was in the news broadcast she listened to that day that the Enola Gay had dropped the atomic bomb and they were giving graphic information of the devastation beyond description that occurred.
She instantly knew that her mission had been a part of that and she was sickened with a deep, deep grief of the part she had played in it.
At this time our church had a small prayer chapel on the west side of the building, on the left as you came in the west door. She went to her church that she loved so dearly, and spent the day in prayer in that beautiful little chapel. All alone she wept and prayed. Her church, our church, was there in her time of need to hold her close and be there for her.
Who was this lady? Ruth Rugg 1923 – 2004 98 pounds soaking wet!
P. S. The first time she was in First Methodist Church was before the present building was built. She was six years old sitting on a pew swinging her legs. With her that day was her Grand-father, Rev. John Glenn a circuit rider for the Methodist Church. They were attending Annual Conference.