How I remembered the end of WWII--take two

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olcop

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Dec 4, 2011
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I have a distinct memory of that day, Dad was in the Merchant Marine, and Mom and I were living in a 2nd floor apartment on Talleyrand Ave in Jacksonville, Fla.
I was looking out the window at a huge crowd of people in the streets, all laughing and yelling and dancing---I asked my Mom why all the people were in the street and she said "The War is Over"
I was 4 years old at the time, and this may be my earliest recollection, but, it's something that I'll never forget.
olcop
 

bogus bill

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utah
You and I must be the same age, 74? My memory is similar. I had many uncles in counting aunts husbands, I think nine. Mom raised me in a country general store by herself during the war. I may have this a little mixed up but my moms sister came from California to our store in Wisconsin maybe to meet their brother who came home from the 82nd AB. I remember them giving me some noise makers to shake. I remember my sister almost losing a finger in a car door when we were going to town for some excitement and then roughly the same time one of my uncles hitch hiking home and dumping out his war bag on the floor and he had about five pistols in it. It seemed every couple days I had different uncles showing up I had never seen before. It was wild times and partying going on for about a year or more with my family. I remember once my dad and one of his brothers and my mom and aunt went to a country bar. My mom`s brother happened to be in there and was in a fist fight with a couple guys there and my dad and his brother got in it too. Dad was the oldest and kind of the head of the clan and restored order. They set my mom`s brother on the road in his 36 ford coupe. Uncle was also drunk and ran out of road and knocked down a power pole and the wires were laying on the car. Who should come along but one of the guys that he had just been fighting with. The guy started to open the door to get at him again but uncle Eldon yelled he might get electrocuted! I remember uncle Herb coming home all blood down the front of him. Two years in a row another brother of dad`s, Art, and mom`s brother Eldon got threw in the hoosegow right on Thanksgiving. They were buddy's and were going deer hunting both times. Once they were drinking and smashed into another car and went to jail. The other time one was driving and the other was shooting insulators off power poles. Jail again. Two years in a row! Mom was mad as both times she had prepared thanksgiving dinner for everyone and they didn't show up. They had sandwiches in the jug! Both those uncles had seen a lot of heavy action and were blowing off steam. Later all shaped up and got religion. It was wild times. I think we had nine in and all came back! My dad came from a huge family. His dad`s first wife died young and left grandpa with six kids. Same time my grandmother came over, a young widow with a young boy. They got married and my dad was the oldest of ten more!
I also recall most of my uncles giving me various military caps when they showed up. A mill pond was near our store. A nice creek behind the store. My dad took me fishing. He caught a black bass and mentioned that it wasn't legal until next week. I grabbed it up and ran ahead of him towards our store. A stranger was standing on top of the bank as I scrambled up. Hey kid! That fish is illegal he said, and I am a game warden! My dad was now coming up so I pointed at dad and told the warden, He made me carry it! Both howled with laughter. Turned out the warden was a brother in law of dad`s and was married to one of dad`s older half sister. I had never seen him up to then! They never let me forget that incident! That`s how I recall the end of the war.
 

olcop

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bogus bill,
You are more eloquent than I am, and your post brought back a lot of memories.
One thing has always amazed me about the greatest generation veterans, for the most part, they came home, and picked up where they left off never complained, and seldom talked about their war years, but, the war left it's mark on many of them.
My natural father was a Merchant Marine, family history tells that he had 7 ships torpedoed from under him, one incident relayed that he spent several days on a cork life raft afloat in the North Atlantic before being rescued, he never mentioned it or any other incident about the war years, after the war, he continued his career as a Merchant Marine. His burden was alcoholism, he would go for months without a drink and them pitch a good one, ironically, he was lost at sea in the early 1960's.
My step father was a POW on Bataan, he told me a few stories about his experience, but they were about funny or amusing things that happened, never of any bad experiences. He was a mechanic all his life, and early on I noticed that he couldn't ever get his fingernails clean, I always thought it was because of his work, in and out of dirty engines, oil etc,---not so---I just learned last year that while he was a POW he was tortured in many ways, one of which was that the japs shoved bamboo splinters under his fingernails and lit them on fire as a way of torture---he never mentioned it
I grew up in a small town in South Georgia, and one of the local residents always seemed to me to be a jerk, he was a loudmouth, seemed to be always unemployed, just generally an unlikeable person.
After I was grown, I was visiting my uncle and we saw him on the street and I commented about him to my uncle who told me the following story about him: He was an aircrewman (probably on a B-17) and flew numerous bombing missions over Germany. On one mission his plane was so shot up that the wind rushing through it made a howling noise so loud that it was said the Germans thought it was some new secret weapon. He was highly decorated, including the Silver Star, and, he never mentioned it, never traded on it, and, I suppose, that is why everyone tolerated him, I wish I had gotten to know him better.
Got to go now, when I think of things like this, my computer screen gets all blurry, going to have to have that thing fixed.
olcop
 

Colonialgirl

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Well, I would have been about 5 when the war ended (74 now); Don't really remember the day, but then my Dad was Career Navy and I think we were in either San Diego or Costa Mesa and my Dad transferred to Hawaii. Lived in Navy Housing on Oahu and it still had a bomb shelter in the back yard; Later moved out to Ford Island and lived not far from where the Arizona was laying; that was where we lived when my little brother was born in 1948 (Did THAT make him a NATIVE Hawaiian?)
 

Critch

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My Uncle Glenn was in Germany in the Army when it ended...he said it seemed so weird for German soldiers to be walking around, many of them trying to be friendly....
 

opos

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Where the debris meets the sea
Just about to turn 78...lived in Denver....I well recall Dad coming home and telling us to get ready .... we were going down town to celebrate...I recall the huge crowds...yelling, dancing in the streets..trying to derail the streetcars that ran on the tracks through town..Hard to forget that big celebration
 

bogus bill

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utah
As I said earlier on this thread I had many relatives in it. I still have one, Uncle Art that is 97 alive. I called him a couple weeks ago. He is in a rest home but still very sharp. I heard from dad that Art was about the very first to be drafted in our county and he went through the entire length of the war. He was a MP and a Dog man. He told me he was assigned to drive General Patton a couple times and went through the Bulge. I was the closest with a younger brother of my mom. He never married. I suppose he had what later is labeled PTSD. He committed suicide in 1974. Eldon was with the gliders in the 82nd AB. He had two purple hearts, I think six bronze and a silver star. I believe D day he was in a glider wreck with 14. Just he and another guy lived through the wreck and Germans mopping up. They both were badly wounded and had to hide a few days and nights until they hooked up with more Americans. He said they were given a map made before the war, were cut loose I think at night, and there was no place to land but in orchards. He had his face smashed in and a busted back. I know he started out in north Africa. I heard both sides of the following story. My folks had some best friends, another married couple. My uncle also was a friend with them prior to the war. The guy had already been in the navy, got out and re enlisted. Uncle went in and both came home from boot camp at the same time. They partied. The guy had to leave before uncle. Things got a little out of hand. Uncle got a dear John letter on the boat going over. His ex GF accused him of having a affair with his buddy's wife after he left and she wrote the guy about it! Later Uncle was in a deal where the Germans drove the 82nd back off Sicily into the ocean. He said a Volcano was going off the same time.
Uncle was climbing up a net on a ship and guess who helped him over! His buddy that the ex GF had wrote! He asked uncle how his wife and kids were! Uncle said, okay I guess, I left right after you. Nothing more was said on that score and his friend seen he was treated well on the ship. Years later I noticed a few times when their paths crossed at our house he would leave real quick. I heard the real story both from my dad and uncle when I got older. My uncle had a heart attack and had open heart surgery in about 1973. He had a stroke on the table and after that couldn't control his emotions. I know it embarrassed him. He lived with me for awhile back then for a winter. He committed suicide and I flew home. The old friend came up to my mother and me and said he wanted to conduct the VFW part of the funeral! I am pretty tough but it got to me when he gave me the flag at the funeral.
Later that night we had a get together. The man asked me directly did I know about him meeting uncle overseas. I just was vague and said I thought I had heard something about it. He then told me the same story I knew but left his wife out of it.
He said it was like hell. The volcano going off, being shelled etc and how they were pulling soldiers out of the water and how he happened to help my uncle over the net!
The man was one of the most fervent Christians I ever knew.
 

don44

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I remember all the cars were honking their horns and people shouting and yelling for joy. My little brother and I were banging on metal pie plates with big spoons and jumping up and down.... Quite a time !
 

Bob Wright

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That evening we went to downtown Memphis, seems everybody was celebrating. There was a lighted sign scrolling the news on one of the buildings. Memphis had streetcars then, but they could not run because of the papers that had been thrown from office building windows. Sort of looked like a continous snowstorm of paper. Folks were shouting and blowing horns. Then the next day was sort of "Now what?"


Bob Wright
 

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