My mother's three youngest brothers were 20, more or less. By 1942 they were all drafted into the Army. Uncle Estill Utterback entered combat in Algeria. The American Army liberated Oran, Algeria. As a gesture of thanks, the town of Oran gave each American soldier a ring inscribed "ORAN AFRICA 1943."
Uncle Estill went on to Italy, surviving the long-fought battle at Cassino. He was in Rome when it was liberated. He had a brief reunion with his brother, Abe Utterback, in Naples, Italy. Abe was in the invasion beachhead at Anzio, Italy. They both moved north into France, ending up in Nuremberg, Germany.
They never met again until they reached home. Uncle George was sent to the South Pacific on the beaches of Buna Guna; spent a month or so in New Guinea; was given R & R in Australia; and then went to battle on Leyte and other Philippine islands.
I thank Oran, Algeria, for managing to produce a token of gratitude in short order as the U.S. Armed Forces moved through. I'm sure other places expressed gratitude and thanks.
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.
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