Second World War: The Draft

Missouri woman shares her account of her husband being taken by the draft during the Second World War.

| Good Old Days

The bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, shocked the whole nation. My husband and I were visiting some very dear friends when the program on the radio was interrupted, and the news announced that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. We sat in stunned silence. Our hearts were saddened. There was a terrible feeling of uneasiness. We knew our lives would never be the same. 

All afternoon and evening the news worsened. We did not leave the radio for anything as they told of the sinking of the USS Arizona and the hundreds of lives lost.

A draft of men 18 years of age and up had already been set up, and it sounded as though all able-bodied men would be called into the service. My husband was soon drafted and went into the service January 14, 1943. I managed to tell him goodbye without shedding a tear, but after he boarded the bus and was out of sight, a regular torrent evolved.

The bus that day carried my husband to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While he was at Leavenworth waiting for assignment, his mother, father and I went to see him.

When he came out to meet us, his expression was one of anger and displeasure. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. When he finally told me, I laughed out loud. He was angry because we had seen him as he was. The baggy Army fatigues, the Army haircut, the heavy boots and general appearance was not the well-groomed person I was used to seeing, but what the heck! I would have been glad to see him in anything, as long as I could see him. We had a good visit before he was shipped out to Virginia.

From Virginia, he was sent to Clearwater, Florida, for basic training. He trained on the ocean-front beaches, slept in one of the hotels that had been taken over to house Army personnel, basked in the sun, and except for the longing to be home, actually enjoyed the time.

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