Patriotism Inspires "Girls"

The local trio will promote the purchase of savings bonds to help in the war effort.

Ginnie Graham,

TulsaWorld staff writer

A grandmother is coming out of retirement to renew her efforts in promoting the sale of government savings bonds to help in the war effort.

Randi Johnson Dale was 5 years old in 1944 when she was featured in a picture in "Popular Photography" magazine wearing an Uncle Sam costume.

Her face became a symbol of patriotism during World War II, and she became involved in several war bond drives.

Dale is joined by her daughter, Susan Dale, and granddaughter, Anatasia Richardson, as the "Freedom Girls" to advocate the purchase of a newly named savings bond and promote local spending.

The Series EE savings bonds were designated on Tuesday as "patriot bonds," and the money raised by the bonds will contribute to the governmentís effort to fight the war on global terrorism.

As a kickoff, the "Freedom Girls" will be giving away promotional items and merchant coupons to the first 300 people to buy the patriot bonds 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at Quest Dance Shop, 6528 E. 101st St., Suite C.

The family bills the event as the first contemporary war bond drive.

The family has been working with Arvest Bank, located near the store in the Village South shopping center at 101st Street and Sheridan Road, on marketing, but said they are offering their services to all banks.

After putting on her updated Uncle Sam uniform, Dale said she had hoped another bond drive would not be necessary during her lifetime.

"To be honest, you think about peace, not terrorism," Dale said. "This is the second time in history we were hit by something so terrible. I love our country, and I am sad by what happened. I know the government has to borrow money for a war effort and for a re-building effort."

The patriot bonds earn 90 percent of five-year Treasury securities yields, according to the Treasury Department. The current rate in effect through April 2002 is 4.07 percent.

The bonds sell as half-face value and are available in denominations of $50, $75, $100, $200, $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000.

Dale was a child model when her mother made the patriotic suit for a photo session to promote war bonds in the July 1944 issue of the photography magazine.

"It is the only photo I remember being taken as a child," Dale said. "I remember it being taken and later interviewed by a New York television station. I think it was NBC, but there werenít too many televisions then, so not very many people saw the interview.

"But I remember going to Grand Central Station and seeing my picture everywhere."

Susan Dale said her motherís stories about the World War II bond drives inspired her to help establish the local effort.

"It dawned on me that Anatasia is the exact same age that my mother was when she was featured on the magazine," she said. "As a 5-year-old, the concept of the whole thing is too difficult for her to understand. But she knows that this is a way to help people."

The Sept. 11 attacks have an added meaning with Daleís husband, Melvin Dale, having served as a mail carrier for 20 years, a volunteer firefighter for 17 years and volunteer reserve police officer for four years.

Susan Dale said her fatherís dedication as a public servant provided her with a strong sense of loyalty to the country.

To encourage spending, more than 15 merchants have donated items and coupons in the Freedom Girls giveaway, including a $500 coupon from Expressway Dodge and a free appetizer from On the Border.

The Treasury Department stated that the patriot bonds increase in value monthly, and interest is compounded semiannually. Interest is exempt from state and local income taxes, and federal tax can be deferred until the bond is redeemed or it stops earning interest at 30 years.

Bonds can be redeemed after six months. A three-month interest penalty is applied to bonds redeemed before five years.