Headlines of the Day
Local papers kept the public informed of neighbors and friends
For those of us not old enough to have been a part of the Second World War, it’s relatively easy to sit in the air-conditioned comfort of our armchair and write of the events occurring 60 years ago.
We can write of the sneak attack on our bases at Pearl Harbor, of the submarine attacks on our merchant ships in the Atlantic and even about D-Day.
But one way to get a good idea of the way things were during those times was to read the small town newspaper headlines. In my report that follows, I’ve listed excerpts from local newspapers during World War II.
VAN ZANDT BOY REPORTED
MISSING AT PEARL HARBOR
“Van Zandt county’s first casualty of the war was announced when Mr. And Mrs. Claude Fincher were notified Saturday by the Navy Department that their son Grady Fincher was missing in action. He was a member of a crew on board one of the ships in Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by the Japanese Dec.7. Young Fincher was a graduate of the Grand Saline School and lived in the Wentworth Community near Canton.”
This was followed on Jan. 22 with the news he was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona.
The above represents the most tragic news loved ones can receive. The second most tragic is news of one missing in action.
The third most tragic news is as follows.
FRUITVALE COUPLE LEARNS
SON IS JAP PRISONER
“Mr. And Mrs. J.T. Reeves of Fruitvale received a telegram Tuesday from the War Department stating their son, Pvt. Clarence C. Reeves is a prisoner of the Japanese Government in the Philippine islands. Reeves was reported missing in action soon after the fall of Corregidor. He is the second man from this area to be reported as a Jap prisoner of war. “
Clarence Reeves, after capture was forced on what came to be called the infamous “Bataan Death March” so called because many died on the march to prison and many more of them died of sickness or starvation and brutality at the hands of their captors.
Missing, wounded, killed and captured became almost a weekly occurrence for the sons of Van Zandt countians.
KILLED IN ACTION
“Mr. Conley A. Craig of Fruitvale, Texas, Rt. 1, received notification Mar. 16 that his son, Sgt. John T. Craig was killed in action February 21 in the Philippine Islands. He was sent into service in New Guinea, helping complete the action there, he went with battery A, 139th. F.A. to the Philippines where he received the injuries, which resulted in his death February 21., 1945. He gave his all so that those he loved might enjoy the freedom in the blessings of the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sgt. Craig was buried with full military honors, which were conducted by his crewmen.”
Mar. 23 1945
JAMES LEE BERRY DIES FROM WOUNDS RECíVED IN GERMANY
“Mr. B.O. Chaney and family received sorrowful news Friday, when they learned their grandson, James Lee Berry, died February 28 from wounds received in action in Germany. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Berry of Sweetwater, Texas. James Lee was 21 years of age. He had been overseas about a month and had captured six prisoners by himself. He was in the Third Army 5th. Division, 1st. Reg. And 2nd. Plat. James went to school in Van.”
PFC. JAMES L. ADKINS HOME
AFTER HAIRS BREADTH ESCAPE
“Pfc. James (Jake) Adkins of the United states Infantry has been here visiting relatives and friends the past several days after recently returning from the European Theatre of Operations after being injured November 27 in Weisweiler, Germany. Pfc. Adkins was injured in combat against the enemy after his company passed through Weisweiler and contacted the Jerries. After being hit Adkins crawled into the nearest building and waited for first-aid and transportation back to the hospital. He was carried to Aachen Germany, then to Paris, France and arriving in England the 10th Of December, staying there until January 25th learning then he would be given permission to come back to the States. Jake, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Adkins is a graduate of the local school, going into service April of 1943. He participated in major battles in France, Belgium and Germany. Pfc. Adkins wears the combat Infantry Badge and was given the Purple Heart after his injury. Pfc. Adkins will report to the hospital in California for further treatment after his 30-day furlough.”
May 3, 1945
ELIAS CURNUTT ADVISED
SECOND SON IS WOUNDED
“Elias Curnutt received a letter from the Navy Department Sunday, advising his son, Orbin Curnutt, Machinist Mate Third Class was wounded in action in the performance of his duty in the service of his country. The report said Curnutt suffered from a concussion Feb.25, 1945, somewhere in the Asiatic Area. Mr. Curnutt lost a son, Cozby L. Curnutt, March 2, this year, somewhere in the South Pacific. Seaman Orbin Curnutt had written his father of his wounds at that time but did not refer to them as wounds, saying only that he had been hurt and not even that it was in the line of duty. Navy announcement of the wounds came to the father Sunday for the first time.”
Not all news was bad, however.
TWO MORE SOLDIERS FROM
VAN ZANDT REPORTED SAFE
“Mr. and Mrs. S.M. Martin of Grand Saline received a letter Monday from their son, T. B. Martin, Barking Sands Airbase in Hawaii, stating he is safe and unharmed. He was formerly stationed at Hickman Field, the scene of many casualties as the result of the Japanese raid, but had been transferred before the war began. Martin has been in the Army Air Corps three years and nine months. Mrs. Jewell Woods has received a message from her son, Harmon H. Woods, who is also stationed in the Hawaiian Islands saying he, too, is safe.”
Feb. 25, 1943
“Mrs. Walton Bryant received a letter this week from her husband serving with the Seabees in the South Pacific. He expresses his thanks to friends here for the Christmas cards and packages, which arrived in good shape.”
PACIFIC, ARCHIE MONK PROMOTED TO SECOND LIEUTENANT AND AWARDED PURPLE HEART
“Mr. And Mrs. Ben Monk recently learned their son, Sgt. Archie Monk was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant. Lt. Monk entered the service of his country in 1937 and sailed for the Pacific in April of 1943 where was wounded twice, both times in the Phillippine Islands. He has been recommended to wear the two Silver Stars, one Bronze Star, and Two purple Hearts he earned during his encounter with the Japs on Luzon. Lt. Monk is now at a rest camp on the island of Luzon. His wife and small daughter are making their home in Dallas while Lt. Monk is away.”
R.M. 3-C, NOLEN HAYNES EARNS CITATION ABOARD DESTROYER IN PACIFIC
“Nolen “Dago” Haynes, Radioman of the United States Navy has been authorized to wear the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with one blue enameled star permanently for service on board a destroyer transport. Radioman Haynes is now in Long Beach, California, waiting reassignment to sea. The serviceman grew up in Grand Saline, graduating from the local high school in 1943, and was an outstanding star on the Indian’s football team. He was employed by the Morton Salt Company from the time of his graduation until he entered the service in November 1942. Since enlisting he has seen service in the Atlantic and the South Pacific. It is presumed that his unit citation was earned in the South Pacific. He spent 30 days home last Christmas.”
July 12, 1945
AWARDED SILVER STAR
“Pfc. Jack M. Zablosky, 21-year-old son of Mr. And Mrs. John Zablosky of Grand Saline, was awarded the Silver Star medal for gallantry in action against the enemy, his parents were notified. The award was made by Maj. Gen. Leonard F. Wing, Zablosky’s commanding officer, in behalf of President Truman.
“By directions of the President I have had the privilege of awarding to your son, Jack, a Silver Star medal for gallantry in action against the enemy on Luzon, Philippine Islands march 3, 1945,” General Wing stated in his letter.
“I deem it an honor to serve in the same command with your son who typifies the finest in the American army - a brave and gallant soldier. I join you in prayer for his safe return when this war is won.”
“Young Zablosky entered the service July 5, 1943, going overseas in September. He was wounded on Luzon March 30, 1945.”
MONK AWARDED SECOND
“With The First Cavalary Division on Luzon-For continuing to lead his platoon in a successful attack although he was wounded by enemy fire, Second lieutenant Archie L. Monk, whose wife, Mrs. Ida Belle Monk, lives at Grand Saline, Texas, has been awarded a second Silver Star on Luzon Island. During the fighting in the Taytay-Antipolo area, Lt. Monk’s platoon was held up by heavy enemy machine gun and sniper fire. Despite strong resistance, he continued the advance, knocking out many Jap pillboxes and sniper positions. After fighting continually for three days without rest, he was wounded by enemy fire. Disregarding his injuries he continued to lead his platoon in an advance which gained the objective and saved the lives of several wounded men. Lt. Monk’s second Silver Star award is an Oak Leaf cluster to his first award, presented for gallantry in a previous action.”
There was also the coincidental.
Sept. 20, 1945
TWO VAN ZANDT COUNTY
NEGROES GO THROUGH WAR FOUR YEARS TOGETHER
“Two Van Zandt County Negro soldiers have the unique experience of serving together in the U.S. Army for more than four years. Inducted into service at Dallas through Local Board No.1 at Canton May 28, 1941, before Pearl Harbor, J.B. Williams, route 2, Eustace, Texas, and Clifford Myers, route 1, Ben Wheeler, Texas were in active duty together in the United States one year, one month and eight days, and served together in foreign countries three years and two months. They engaged in battles in Tunisia, Naples, Foggia, Rome, Arno and the North Apernines. Both received the EAME campaign medal with four bronze stars, the American defense metal and good conduct medal. They were discharged together at the San Antonio separation center Sept.5. Incidentally, the Negro soldiers came home together.”
And to cap the Williams- Myers relationship, their younger brothers, Moses Williams and Sammie Matthew Myers, started out together in a call made Dec. 4,1944.
May 31, 1945
KILLED IN ACTION
“Mr. and Mrs. Lucian J. Ray received a telegram from the War Department, Monday informing them that their son, T/Sgt. Dezz Franklin Ray had been killed in an aircraft crash in France on May 12,1945. Dezz was a graduate of Grand Saline High School, class of 1934, and attended North Texas State Teachers Collage. He entered the Army Air Force on October 16, 1941. Sgt. Ray, an Armorer Gunner had flown 59 missions in the Mediterranean and European Theater of operation. He had been overseas since January 1943. He had been awarded the Air Medal, the good Conduct Ribbon, the American Defense Service ribbon, the European Theater ribbon with one Silver Star, the Distinguished Unit Badge, and the Cruix-de-Guierre. Besides his parents, he is survived by one sister, Mrs. Harry Griffith of Dallas, three brothers, Joe Glynn, Lynn, and Franklin and two nieces, Gail and Jean Ray Griffith.”
FRENCH GRAVES OF T
WO GRAND SALINE BOYS
“Sgt. Kenneth Berry, intimate friend of Sgt. Joe Glynn Hudgins and T/Sgt. Dezz Franklin Ray, boyhood residents of Grand Saline, stand between the graves of his former buddies in a French military cemetery. The unusual coincidence of two Grand Saline boys being buried in the same cemetery and by the side of each other was discovered by Berry when he visited the burial place to check on Hudgin’s grave for his family. Ray is the son of Mr. And Mrs. Lucian Ray of Grand Saline, and Hudgins the son of Glynn Hudgins of Mineola. Ray was killed May 12 and Hudgins May 26.”
April 29, 1948
KENNETH BERRY ATTENDS
SECOND FUNERAL FOR
JOE G. HUDGINS HERE
First Rites Held in France for local Boy
“The unusual privilege of attending two funerals for the same man on two continents was experienced by Kenneth Berry of Terrell here last week at the funeral of Pvt. Joe Glynn Hudgins. Hudgins was buried in Woodside Cemetery here April 20. Berry and Hudgins were in France when the latter, son of Glynn Hudgins of Mineola and grandson of Mrs. A.B. Clifford and Mrs. H. James of Grand Saline, was killed May 26, 1945. Berry attended funeral services there for his buddy from home. Nearly three years later, the body of young Hudgins, 23 at the time of his death, was returned for final interment in home soil. Berry came down from Terrell April 20 to serve as a pallbearer at his buddy’s second funeral. Other pallbearers were Red Bryant, commander of the American Legion post which was in charge of military services with the Mineola post; Fine Williams, Bell Campbell, C. Pruitt, and Gordon Payne both of Dallas. Roger Speights is commander of the Mineola post.
May 6, 1948
RAY’S BODY RETURNING
The body of T/Sgt. Dezz Franklin Ray, son of Mrs. L.J. Ray and the late L.J. Ray, is being returned from France for reburial on home soil, Mrs. Ray revealed this week. She could give no further information on its arrival and other plans at this time.”
Not all W.W.II. heroes carried a gun.
Mar. 4, 1943
MISS RITCHIE IS FIRST WAVE
FROM GRAND SALINE
“The first recruit from Grand Saline for the Navy’s Woman’s organization, the WAVES, reported for duty when Miss. Helen Ritchie, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Rufus Ritchie of this city left Dallas Feb. 24 for Cedar Falls, Ia. She will spend five weeks in school there and will then be assigned to active duty with the rank of apprentice seaman. Miss. Ritchie has been employed in Dallas for some time. Previously she had employment in Kansas City.
July 15, 1943
LIEUT. EVA JOSLIN
U.S. ARMY NURSE
“Of course it is with pride that we along with her relatives, note the fact that one of the home girls is making good. Mrs. Newman, Lieut. Joslin’s sister, gave us the following data about her; She is now a Second Lieutenant in the Army Nurse’s Corps, stationed in the Hawaiian area. This is her third year in the service and her second year in Foreign Service. These nurses are the ministering angels following the carnage of war-mad men, tying up the wounds and comforting the dying.”
Marine Private Adene Thompson, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. William Moses Thompson, Grand Saline, and former teacher at Gaston High School, Joinerville, Texas, now is taking recruit training at this Marine Corps base. The Texas member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve is a graduate of North Texas State Teachers College, Denton and taught speech, English and physical education at the Joinerville high school before joining the Corps. Her brother, Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, Joseph Benjamin Thompson is stationed with the Navy in San Diego, California. Upon completion of her present six weeks’ “boot” training, which includes drill, first aide, chemical warfare, Marine Corps history and customs and courtesies of the service. Private Thompson either will be assigned directly to a job or will be sent to specialists’ schools for further training.”
Some of these non-gun totters were close enough to smell the gunpowder.
ARMY NURSE MARY LOU TUNNELL REPORTS SUFFERING, DEATH IN PACIFIC AREA IS HEARTBREAKING
“After 16 months overseas in the Southwest Pacific and three months in a combat zone, First Lt. Mary Lou Tunnell, 25, Four- year Army nurse, was back in civilian clothes this week reveling in the leisure time on her hands and making plans for her future. ‘I got as homesick as anybody,’ the tall, pretty, brown-haired nurse smiled wistfully yesterday. Working with “all types of cases,” Miss Tunnell’s principal tour in the Southwest Pacific was on hospital trains running out of Brisbane. That was in 1943 and 1944. She was transferred to New Guinea in October 1944, at Milne Bay into the combat zone for three months. The worst cases were typhus fever victims many of them were young men, 20,21, years old, whose bodies appeared many years older from loss of weight. One case went violently insane, Miss. Tunnell recalled.All of this suffering and death, it was hard to give way to one’s emotions, Miss Tunnel pointed out, and “everyone cried.” One of the few young women to enter service from Van Zandt County, Miss Tunnell is one of the very few women to go overseas into combat zones. For her overseas duty she wears a battle star for the New Guinea campaign and the American defense and Asiatic-Pacific ribbon. Unlike many discharged veterans, Miss. Tunnell intends to return to private duty nursing in Dallas as soon as she can find an apartment where she and her sister, Frances, can live together. But marriage might alter those plans soon, she speculates.”
May 21, 1945
DALLAS WAC WEARS TWO BATTLE STARS SISTER INFORMED
“Her biggest thrill, WAC. Cpl. Junne Sims of Dallas, has written her sister, Mrs. A.T. Greene, 917 North Lancester, is wearing a pacific theatre ribbon with two battle stars Miss Sims, now stationed on New Guinea, enlisted in 1943, took basic training at Fort Des Moines and was engaged in recruiting duty before being sent with the first contingent of WAC’s to land in Australia. Cpl. Sims was born in Grand Saline, graduating from the local high school where she took part in the school programs and athletic life. She moved to Dallas in 1943 and was employed by the W.A. Green Company prior to going into the WAC Corp, incidently she is one of the first girls to join the WAC’s. Junne’s brother, Pvt. John H. Sims Jr., was in the Pacific theatre for two years, receiving injuries on Guadalcanal and was returned to the states eight or nine months ago.”
Meanwhile back home, nameless heroes were doing their part, from farmers to church leaders to boy scouts and school kids, they all did their part.
CAPT. E. T. FANT COMMENDS
VAN ZANDT COUNTY
“’If all counties worked in as close cooperation with the armed forces as the residents of Van Zandt County then we would be much nearer victory,’ exclaimed Capt. E.T. Fant Jr. the officer in charge of the army mobile collecting salvage unit of the Eighth Service Command, when he had surveyed the amounts of scrap metal collected as a result of the detachments operations here for the last two weeks. The scrap metal donated to the government as a patriotic contribution by Van Zandt County far exceeded expectations in view of the fact that several previous drives had been conducted in the area by civilian agencies who were abetted by newspaper campaigns. The soldiers of the detachment were highly gratified at the splendid treatment accorded them by county residents. They left Van Zandt County knowing that the people are helping the war effort by fighting on the home front. Commencing March 4 the detachment will move into Athens, the seat of Henderson County to continue its scrap metal operations. When activities have been concluded there they will move into the next county and from there to another county until there is no idle scrap metal lying dormant and serving no useful purpose. The only thing idle scrap metal can do is help the axis and not our troops and allies who are battling so valiantly to bring this conflict to a quick successful close.”
April 15, 1943
21,000 POUNDS TIN CANS
MOVED IN SALVAGE DRIVE
“The Salvage Committee of Texas has complimented the citizens of Grand Saline on their showing of the tin can salvage drive. Three large truckloads of cans were taken to the shredding plant in Dallas last week. These loads amounted to over 21,000 pounds of tin cans. The Grand Saline Committee states there are now almost enough cans left at the center to make another truckload and asks the citizens of Grand Saline to continue saving cans so another load can be sent next week. Mr. Land, chairman of the committee, says his men will keep on collecting cans at the same time they collect trash. He asks that people be careful to keep the cans separate from everything else. If people have no special containers for the cans they can pile them up near the other trash, but separate from it, and the cans will be picked up. If everyone cooperates as they have done before, Grand Saline can keep loads of cans moving to Dallas, where they are urgently needed. The Grand Saline Committee wishes to thank everyone who has helped them.
“Another item which Grand Saline people are urged to save for salvage is old silk stockings. At least one hundred pounds of these are needed before they can be sent off. They will be collected at any dry goods store in town. Several pounds have already been collected, but more are needed. The Committee urges everyone to keep up the good work of salvage collection that has been started. Grand Saline is doing good work, and the Texas Committee expects us to continue.”
REDLAND COLORED SCHOOL
DISTRICT FIRST TO MEET QUOTA
Paul H. Stanford, County Chairman of the Red Cross War Fund Drive for Van Zandt County reported that the first community to raise its quota for the present War Fund Drive was Redland Colored School District No.58, with E. D. Hill as it’s local chairman. The quota for this district was $96 and, they already raised the amount of $105 and have deposited this money in the First National Bank at Canton, with Lamar Sides, Treasurer. These people are to be complemented on their loyalty and efforts to aide the War Program. The entire county is now working to raise their allotment and the people are cooperating in every community. If your local chairman has not seen you please go to him and make your contribution and assist your community as well as your nation in this worthy drive.”
Nov. 26, 1944
SCOUTS TO COLLECT WASTE
PAPER SAT. HAVE YOURS READY
“It seems that the people of Grand Saline have slacked up on their saving of, the still No. 1 Critical item, Waste Paper, according to the report from W.E. Thomas. The Boy Scouts will again gather the waste paper Saturday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. and they are asking that each person help them in collecting this vital item for the war effort. With the war still going on, we should continue saving the critical items so we the United Nations can stay on the winning side of the fence. The waste paper that we save is used in the smallest articles to the largest articles in furnishing our boys with their needed supplies. Some of the boys and girls are giving their lives.. is it too much to ask of us to give them their needed supplies?”
CHURCHES TO GATHER XMAS GIFTS FOR G.I. JOES AND JANES
“A group of the Church workers, of all denominations, met Wednesday morning of this week to make final arrangements for the gathering of gifts for soldiers of the Veterans hospital in Dallas. Interested persons are asked to gift wrap packages and, if desired, put name and address inside. On the outside designate whether the gift is for G. I. Joe or G. I. Jane. You are asked to take the gift to your respective church by next Tuesday, Dec. 12. Choose any gift suitable for use in a hospital. Packages may be left at the H. & H. Grocery and Market if you can not get to the church.”
Finally, we get the news of Germany’s surrender, followed by that of Japan.
May 10, 1945
NAZI SURRENDER MAY 7TH
IN SCHOOL HOUSE
Reims, France, May 7- Germany surrendered unconditionally to the western allies and Russia at 2:41 a.m. French time Monday. The surrender took place at the little red schoolhouse which is the headquarters of General Eisenhower. The surrender which brought the war in Europe to a formal end after five years, eight months and six days of bloodshed and destruction was signed for Germany by Gen. Gustav-Jodl. Jodl is the new chief of staff of the German army. It was signed for the supreme Allied command by Lieut. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, chief of staff for General Eisenhower. It was also signed by Gen. Ivan Susloparoff for Russia and by Gen. Francois Sevez for France. General Eisenhower was not present at the signing, but immediately afterward Jodl and his fellow delegate, Gen. Adm. Hans Georg Friedenburg, were received by the supreme commander. They were asked sternly if they understood the surrender terms imposed upon Germany and if they would be carried out by Germany. They answered yes.”
This was bitter sweet news for far too many Van Zandters who had lost loved ones during these dark years of our history. For some, the thought of their sons being buried in foreign soil was too much to bear.
Nov. 20, 1947
UNION CHAPEL GRAVE JOURNEY’S END FOR V. R. FREEMAN, HERO
“World War II was brought tragically home to Grand Saline again Tuesday night and Wednesday. For Tuesday night the body of Pfc. Vestos R. Freeman, 27-years-old hero son of Mr. And Mrs. R. T. Freeman of Rucker Ridge, who met his death on a German battlefield Dec. 11, 1944, came home for its final interment in a steel casket, neatly draped with the United States flag, a privilege allowed only those who had made the supreme sacrifice for their country. In the presence of his aging parents, most of his eight brothers, official representatives of the U. S. Army in which he served, Grand Saline veterans’ organizations and a church full of other friends, three preachers conducted the liturgy at the union Chapel Methodist Church, where Vestos waited on his God. The military took part under the command of S/Sgt. Irvin W. west, Army recruiter here. C. E. Bryant, Jr., and Gene null were color bearers, and A. E. Herring and Chester L. Davis were color guards. Pallbearers were Cue Marrett, Walter W. Leach, Jr., Olin H. Zablosky, Aaron Crawford, Richard Davis, Everett R. Herring, Charles W. Tippett and Norman E. Dickerson. Gene Long, Boy Scout bugler, blew taps in final reverence of Vestos. A large number of relatives, including the parents, friends and ex-servicemen met the train Tuesday night and watched the flag-draped casket as it was loaded from the express car and into a hearse by volunteers for removal to the funeral home to await burial at 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon.”
Dec. 24 1947
MILITARY HOLDS KAMMAN RITES
“Full military rites were accorded another Van Zandt County World War II hero, Pfc. Royce Glenn Kamman, 23, who was killed in western Germany Feb. 15, 1945, when his body was returned here last week for final interment in home soil. Religious services were conducted by the Rev. James W. Dixon, pastor of the Main Street Baptist Church and World War II chaplain last Thursday with burial in Woodside Cemetery, The Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts here participated, with S/Sgt. Irvin W. West, Army recruiting officer here, in command of military details. Kamman is survived by his widow Mrs. Adair Kamman, young son Royce Glenn, Jr. his parents, Mr. And Mrs. W. O. Kamman, and four brothers, Lee and Leonard of the home address, Mark of Fort Worth, where he is confined to a hospital, and Maurice of Denison. A native of Malakoff, where he was born June 13, 1922, Kamman had made his home in this county in later years prior to military service. He was a member of the Fighting 69th Infantry Divison that brought glory to itself in the ETO. Honor bearers were Gene Null and Norman Dickerson, and guards were Johnny Weeks and Harlan Davis. Pallbearers were Melvin Peel, Joe Darr, Olen Zablosky Buster Green, Miller Gray, Swindall, Herbert Westmoreland and James Land. Honorary pallbearers were Leonard Loven, Jack Moore, Everett Herring, Harold Chesser, Tristin Guinn and Ed Campbell.”
Aug. 5, 1948
FINAL RITES HELD FOR WHEELER
“S/Sgt. Cozby Wheeler, 25 year-old World War II hero who gave his life for his country Aug. 26, 1944 on French soil was laid to rest at his final resting place in Oakland Cemetery last Saturday morning nearly four years after he died in action. Young Wheeler, son of Mr. And Mrs. John R. Wheeler of Grand Saline, was born and reared near here. He enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1939 and served in that branch and the army until he lost his life. Funeral services were conducted from the Oakland Baptist Church by H.C. Minnett of the Mineola Church of Christ, Saturday morning with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post here in charge of Military Rites. He is survived besides his parents, by three sisters and three brothers.”
Jan. 20, 1949
FRUITVALE SOLDIER REBURIED TUESDAY
“Fruitvale- Reburial rites for Sgt. John T. Craig, son of Conley A. Craig of Fruitvale were held at 2:30 o’clock Wednesday afternoon at the Creagleville Methodist Church with Rev. Edd Barrett officiating. Burial was in Creagleville Cemetery. Sergeant Craig was killed in action February 21, 1945, at the age of 27 years in the Phillipine Islands, He saw combat duty during World War II also in New Guinea before he accompanied the push into the Phillipines, where he sustained injuries in combat zones that resulted in his death for his country. Craig entered the Army Feb.13 1937, and underwent training at Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Sill, Okla. And Camp Livingston, La., before his repeated application for transfer into combat troops was granted. He served as an instructor at the training camps. He went into action Jan.,1944. In addition to his father, he is survived by three brothers, Conley Adrain Craig Jr., of Terrell, W.A. Craig of Alice, a half- brother, Garland Odell Craig and a foster brother, Wesley Craig. His mother and two sisters preceded him in death. Also here for last rites for the soldier hero are Mrs. W. A. Craig and their son, Arnold Rogers. Mrs. C. A. Graig Jr., was in Terrell hospital where she gave birth to a daughter Monday, and unable to attend rites for her brother-in-law.”
Many of the sons of Van Zandt came back without a scratch. But in so many ways the physical wounds are much more easily treated than those that people, by nature tend to keep inside themselves.
These are the wounds that, for those of us who have never been in war, can’t even begin to comprehend.
This is but a sample of the historic and heroic tales of WWII reported by the small town reporters and editors.
To ALL Veterans, thank you for keeping this United States of America Free!