Few of my ancestors were heroes in the sense that most people use the word. I don't know of many who were heroic in war but
I believe almost everyone has had moments of heroism. Here, I will tell a few stories of family members whom I consider heroic.
Walter Petty, my maternal grandfather, got a leg caught in some sawmill equipment when he was very young. The doctor wanted
to amputate but Walter absolutely refused to give permission for the operation. "I will live with both legs or I will
die with both legs but I will not let you cut one of them off." Was that heroism? Maybe not, but I think the fact that
he lived with pain and without a limp for the rest of his long life was heroism. I remember Grandpa sometimes lifting his
pin-striped pants leg and rubbing his lower leg where the skin showed ugly, purple blotches. "My old leg hurts,"
he would say. That is the most complaining I ever heard from him. Late in life he did use a cane but he still walked straight.
I think the cane was largely to help him feel his way around after his eyesight went bad.
FAMILY MEMBER WALTER PETTY
FAMILY BUSINESS PHOTOS
|THIS IS MY UNCLE IN HIS WORLD WAR II MARINE UNIFORM
|BROOKS BROTHERS ON OKINAWA
|THESE ARE THE BROTHERS MENTIONED IN THE NEWS STORY BELOW
The following newspaper story is a simple account of a wartime incident that was in no way heroic. I include it here to honor
those three uncles who were heroes simply because they served their country when they were needed. Another uncle, Bobby Joe,
was too young to serve in World War II but was in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict.
From McAlester, Oklahoma newspaper, date of publication unknown
GET BIG SURPRISE
One of the biggest surprises
of the war came to two servicemen
recently in the Philippines, when
Seaman 1/c Orvell Brooks
awoke one morning and looked out
over the bay to see a ship he knew
Seaman First Class Ray
Brooks, to be serving aboard.
The seamen Brooks are sons of
Mr. amd Mrs.
W.H. Brooks, 340 West
Harrison Avenue, and their meeting
in the Philippines was the first
time they had seen
each other in
over three years. It was the first
occasion that Ray had for getting news
from home in many
months as he has
been aboard a troop carrier convoying
troops to the Pacific.
Another son of the
Mate 2/c W.H. (Junior) Brooks is back
in the states after fifteen months
the southwest Pacific theater.
Stationed at Camp Marimar, San Diego, Calif.,
he was home on a thirty day furlough
THE BROTHER WHO DID NOT GO
The brother who did not fight in World War II was my father, Kenneth Brooks. One of my earliest memories is of my Daddy picking
me up and giving me a big bear hug before he left to try to join the army. I was very much afraid that my father would have
to go to war, though I really did not understand what war was. He was soon home again, having been given a 4F rating for
poor eyesight. Throughout the war, he worked at whatever job he could get. Later, when I asked him to share memories of
his early life, he said that co-workers disliked him for being a hard worker. "Slow down," they said. "You're
making us look bad." His answer was, "I have three brothers out fighting a war. I can't fight with them but I
am going to do whatever I am given to do to the best of my ability."