Grandpa’s Duty During World War II

DUTY

Duty refers to conduct required by one’s sense of moral or legal obligation.

ADG - Grandpa, when I know him, early 1960's

Alfred Duryee Guion

Sending Sons Off to War

In January, 1942, Grandpa’s second oldest, Dan, writes from Anchorage, Alaska, where he had been living with Ced, his next younger brother.

Uncle Sam feels he needs me to save the world for Roosevelt… When I left Anchorage I made several promises to keep the boys posted about how I made out with the Army….I tried valiantly but the Anchorage draft board tried harder, so into the Army I go, perhaps to fertilize some exotic orchid in the jungles of Sumatra, or fill out the lean feathers of some scrawny African buzzard…. saving America, of course, from the Japs, the Huns and the Wops, every one of whom has only one aim in life… to make every U.S. citizen a slave.

 

Later that month, my grandfather writes:

Every week the war gets closer to home. Last Wednesday, Lad received notice of reclassification to A-1….And this of course is Dan’s last week home. He leaves Wednesday from Shelton to begin working for Uncle Sam and that, at present, is the extent of our knowledge on the subject.

Four months later he writes:

Last Wednesday, Lad woke me up a little before 5 am and after a hasty breakfast we started off in my car to the railroad station in Derby from which I saw my engineer son off to the Army camp.  This time, however, there was much more of a crowd, the station yard being pretty well filled with cars. I learned later there were about 80 men in the group. We learned that Lad had been appointed a leader and would probably be busy so I said goodbye as the train pulled into the station. I have not heard from him since but the plan was for the boys to go to Hartford for their final physical examination then to Camp Devens and parts unknown.

The war continued and in February, 1943, in a letter to Lad, my grandfather writes:

You will recall, as will Dan also, that early morning trip to the Derby railroad station and my dutifully surrendering into Uncle Sam’s care, my two oldest boys. Well, that performance was repeated again with Dick as the sacrificial lamb. Dick and Dave (the youngest) had both set alarm clocks, heard them go off and immediately went back to sleep. At 10 to five, conscientious Dad, with the matter weighing on his subconscious mind, awoke, roused the two slackers, had a hasty breakfast and started on our way by bright moonlight at about 5:15. We arrived at the station at about 5:45 and most of the boys were already on the train. Unlike your case, Dick had been granted a 9-day leave so after going through the routine at Hartford, he returned last night …and does not have to go to report until next Monday.

Dave dropped out of high school after turning 18 and enlisted. In January, 1944, my grandfather writes:

Dear, Lad, Dan and Dick, It is only the three of you I am writing to today but it won’t be long now before Dave will be added to the list. Dave goes Saturday, and following my usual custom which has happened as many times now it has almost developed into a habit, I shall deliver my youngest at the well-known railroad station in Derby to swell the ranks of Uncle Sam’s army.

As a citizen we have a duty every day to our family and as citizens, to our country. The Greatest Generation took this obligation very seriously, without complaint and with forbearance.

On Memorial Day, we honor all those, over the years, who have pledged everything, including their lives, so that we may enjoy the freedom and security that we have each and every day. This is a debt we owe all members of our military.

 Judy Guion

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