I want to tell you something a veteran of the Second World War told me.
"I never thought I could deliberately kill a defenseless human being," he said, "but that was before a sniper got my buddy in Normandy."
"My buddy was just a young kid. He had gotten off on the wrong foot when he first came to the Army and had been court-martialed several times back in the States. One day I went to the C.O. and told him that everyone was down on the kid and just watching for him to do something else wrong. That was why he was still in trouble all the time.
"If you'll just see that he is given a chance," he said, "I think he'll make a good soldier yet!"
"All right," said the C.O. "He is probationed to your care. See what you can do with him."
"Sure enough, the kid straightened out and finally became one of the most respected men in the company. Realizing that I had helped him to get a break, he couldn't do enough for me. We became as brothers.
"Then one day in Normandy, it happened. We were advancing across a supposedly cleared area when a hidden sniper shot my buddy through the spine. He died in about 15 minutes. Then I was determined to get that sniper.
"I started crawling across the ground in the direction from which the shot had come. Soon I had the sniper's position located.
Inch-by-inch I crept nearer.
"Then suddenly, the sniper stood up, hands in the air, holding a white cloth of surrender. He was not more than 20 feet away. I shot him right between the eyes.
"I had thought that I could never kill a defenseless human being, but this one had shot my buddy and tried to save himself by surrender."
Beatrice E. Tucker
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.