The women of WWII were quiet heroines, raising children as single parents, and not knowing for weeks and sometimes months at a time, whether their husbands were alive or if and when they would come home. I write in my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, that when my father finally came home for good at the end of WWII in the summer of 1945, he was a different man. Mother had little or no information on the long term emotional effects on her husband. It was assumed at the time that once the war was over life would be good and all the earlier dreams of happiness as a family would come true. It didn’t take long to discover that Dad was a different man, broken and wounded emotionally from extended combat duty. The dreams of getting on with life would have to wait, for my mother was in for the biggest challenge of her life. How would she cope with this man who’s behavior was that of a different person than when he sailed off to Pearl Harbor on the USS West Virginia in the summer of 1941? My brother Jerry was born in September 1941, three months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Jerry would get to know his Dad for the first time as a 4 year old boy.
It is an honor and privilege for me to share this story with my blog readers and social media followers. We should all be grateful for the determination and brave work of Shawn Gourley.