"If you did not enlist in some military service you were a nobody." Generally, but not always, true, Chief. My dad and his buddy Carl "Red" Smith were both tool and die makers at Atlantic Steel Company when Pearl Harbor happened. I was almost four years old at the time. They tried to enlist in the Army, but were told they were needed where they were. Then they went to Philadelphia to work in the shipyards, but were sent home. The Army let them know in no uncertain terms they would continue to work at Atlantic Steel. The Army sent Dad to Georgia Tech for two years at night to increase his skills. We used to joke about his having an eighth grade education and two years of college. All their friends and relatives were fighting in Europe, while they were stuck in what must have been very important projects to the Army. He never talked about it. Once, during the War, the union tried to call a strike for some reason. All the employees were locked in the plant and guarded by the Army. They slept on cots, with those awful green wool blankets. We would visit on Sunday afternoons. I still remember sitting on Dad's cot, the blanket making my short panted legs itch. The union finally gave in, and he was allowed to come home at night.
Their friends' wives would come over on Saturday nights and Dad would dance with them all. He was a very good dancer. Finally they all came home. One later died of methane poisoning when working in a well near Glover Machine Works. During the celebration of VJ Day, one of my second cousins, just home from Europe, fell out of a convertible in Atlanta and broke his neck. Another of Dad's friends lost both his hands in the War. He raised chickens, and wore hooks on his arms, to carry buckets of feed for the chickens. The guys all knew of Dad's situation, and accepted his contribution to the war effort as valuable. He was not looked down upon. One of my uncles was in the Texas 36th Division, fighting all through Italy. The other was a destroyer Sailor who fought at Okinawa. The did not look down on Dad. I suppose he and Red were exceptions to the rule.
Dad's father was born in 1859. His dad was my GGF who died at Seven Pines. Stan