Second World War: Brother killed on USS Arizona

Illinois woman shares how her family dealt with the death of her brother on the USS Arizona during the Second World War.

| Good Old Days

My brother was home on leave in the summer of 1941, a young, handsome 17- year- old. Little did we know when we bid him goodbye as he left for the USS Arizona that we would never see him again. He was a gunner on ship and is now entombed under the USS Arizona Memorial. We were a big family of 15. One by one, the brothers enlisted in the Navy, the Army and the Marines, until I had six more brothers in the service. All six of them came home after the War was over. My brother in the Marines wrote home to our mother and said, "Wars are fought by Mothers like you at home, as much as us boys out here." I often wondered how my mother and father ever stood it. Having one boy killed, then six others leaving them - not knowing what would happen to them. 

Mrs. James Gray
Rockton, Illinois

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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