Memories of WWII

Pearl Harris

I think perhaps what made me write about this is that two of my husband’s buddies from the Air Force visited us. One was from Kentucky and one from Texas. It has been quite a while since we had seen them. I fixed a nice lunch for them and their wives and we enjoyed about 5 or 6 hours of fighting WWII over. They were both gunners on a B-26 Marauder Bomber as was my husband. In fact, one of them was in the same tent over in the ETO. They all flew missions over enemy territory. The men went to the den after lunch and looked at pictures and read diaries and fought WWII all over again. We ladies retired to the living room and thought about our contribution to the war effort on the home front during this period. We compared WWII with the war today. If we do not have a family member or a friend who is fighting this war we would not realize we were in a war compared to what went on during 1941 to 1946. We talked about the things that were rationed and things impossible to get. Among the things that were rationed were sugar, tires, cars, nylon hose, gasoline, shoes, cigarettes, shorting and probably some things that I don’t remember. I had to call my friend, Cortez Lawrence, to help me remember some of these things. I remember I worked and lived in El Dorado, AR and I took bacon drippings and turned them in and also we peeled tin foil from gum wrappers and cigarette packages and turned them in. When my husband came home, we could not find him a pair of shoes, he had to wear combat boots with his civilian clothes. But you know what, we do not complain — we were all doing our duty.

The people of these United States are not deprived of anything these days of war — but if it was necessary. I’m sure we would gladly do our part again. We appreciate what our service men and women are doing to keep us free and we think about them and pray for them and their families daily.

The means of communications with the service men and women is so different now. We have computers and cell phones and they can talk and see each other. The only means of communication we had were letters and they were censored.

Sometimes it would be 2 or 3 weeks before we would get mail, even through they wrote nearly every day. We had the nicest postman in El Dorado. He would keep check when we didn’t get mail and if we had not received letters for a few days — he would call us to meet him in the afternoon after the mail had been put up for the next day. That was beyond the call of duty. I wrote a letter every day and I remember his serial number today and I can’t even remember my own Social Security number.

I’m not sure that the younger generation realizes what sacrifices our generation went through to secure our freedom. I’m told that not too much is being taught in history books about the “greatest generation” but they need to know how our freedom was won and how our service people are keeping us free today. Most of the WWII men were so busy when they got home having families and establishing a career that they did not want to talk about what they went through.

A lot of the veterans are just now beginning to tell about their experiences and some of it being put into museums. But so many have died that there are not too many left to talk about the war. All of my husband’s crew members are gone and he was the oldest of them all. We kept in touch with about 25 of his buddies for several years, but there are only 3 left now along with 5 or 6 widows.

We talked about how different the wars are today, but one thing remains the same — if you have family or loved ones fighting this war– it is hard for you to have to give them up to do this job. I want you to know that we appreciate all that they  — and their families are doing to keep us safe. May God bless all of them and our prayers and thoughts are with them each day.


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