In early September 1940, we heard on the radio that Hitler's troops had invaded
the Danzig corridor in Poland and the troops had marched through Poland. In a
few days Poland was occupied and the German Army took over control. This was
If Hitler could do this so quickly ,what else could we expect. It was really
frightening. We wondered what the consequences would be? What would our
government do about this terrible turn of events? We were very worried . Then we
learned around Poland were being bombed and the German were marching through
Europe almost at will. Even France was invaded and Paris had fallen in a short
time. Marshall Petain surrendered his country very quickly although he was
called a traitor. Gaston and I would talk about it and we think Petain wanted to
save France from the destruction she had undergone in World War One. Anyway this
is how we perceived the events to be. General De Gaulle fled to England and
proceeded to rally the French as much as he could. I know that there were many
resistance fighters in France who gave their lives trying to fight the Germans.
We would hear broadcasts every night from some famous reporters. 'We' were still
at peace but worried what was coming next .
We knew a neighbor who was an airplane pilot and had a route flying to St. Louis
and back to New Orleans. Then we read an article on the paper that he was now
ferrying planes to England from Canada.
Churchill, the great orator, gave us astounding news of what was happening.
We dreaded what was coming.
Then Pearl Harbor blew everything apart. We were in the War for years. We saw
many young men leave us to go to war.
I recalled World War One and how sad it was when the young men came to tell my
family goodbye, especially Aunt Marie's friends. Yes. I do remember that.
Gaston had a young nephew, just 17, who volunteered for the Marines at such a
terrible time. Then Leo's son was drafted a little out of high school and was
sent to the Pacific. He did not come back. He was killed on the beaches of Iwo
Jima on the first day of the landing. That was on Feb.19, 1945 and his parents
did not get the news of his death until April 12 1945, the very same day that
President Roosevelt died. So we had very shocking news on the very same day.
Yes, that's the way it was.
May Reulet Gravois April 23,2002