As The Disney Project is still a very young blog, celebrating its second week (woo hoo!), so is America a very young country. Compared to China we’re still an infant age-wise, and even France has about 1300 years on us. But we Americans like to believe it’s quality, not quantity. And it’s hard not to think of the word quality when you hear the name Walt Disney.
Speaking of Walt, and America, and France, here’s a patriotic tidbit about the man himself.
During World War I, Walt, too young to join the military at sixteen, was trying to figure out a scheme to somehow join the effort. After an attempt to cross the border to Canada where they enlisted at a younger age was thwarted, Walt’s co-worker Russell Maas came to him with a new plan. He found a volunteer outfit called the American Ambulance Corps, which was part of the Red Cross. The age minimum was seventeen, so Walt and Russell changed the year of birth on their applications from 1901 to 1900. After a serious bout of influenza, Walt was eventually shipped out to Paris. By that time World War I had officially ended, but he was hardly free from danger. Falsifying his age to join the war efforts at the age of sixteen was Walt’s first great act of patriotism, but it wouldn’t be his last.
“Walt loved the idea of progress, and he loved the American family. And he himself was probably as American as anyone could possibly be.”
–Jean Shepherd, narrator of Carousel of Progress
Happy Independence Day!