Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Two boys from the farm........

Two Iowa boys from the Murray, Iowa area who dropped out of school to help save the family farm. It was the time of depression era. My dad Jesse T. Burgus, born 1917 and his brother Donald, born 1920. Their father had sold a farm north of Murray and bought two other farms with the money.  It was said that he was trying to get closer to Murray so the kids could go to high school.  Some of them graduated from Murray High School but Jesse and Donald did not.

The two of them with their efforts to help Papa Burgus to save the farm did not succeed as they still lost the one farm to the bank.  The other one southeast of Murray did survive the depression.  In the 40's both boys from middle America were drafted into the Army.

After completing basic training my dad,  Jesse, was shipped to Washington D.C.  to guard government buildings and also to read radar to watch for enemy aircraft. His being stationed in that area, with a wife and son at home had to be a considerable adjustment.  In the photo above you can see him walking the streets of D.C.  maybe even going to the movies.

His brother Donald, three years younger than him, ended up in Alaska, at the Aleutian Islands.  There the U.S. military were stationed to monitor aircraft and I believe also to repair planes.  There was a harbor there too. He is sitting on the right in the picture.

I am going to make the assumption that his is my Uncle Donald with a friend, even though I thought it was my dad for a long time.  When Dad and his brother were younger they looked a lot alike.  I will post this as Uncle Donald and let the relatives correct me.

This is Uncle Donald Burgus at his barracks in the Aleutians.

A year and a half before the World War ended, dad was sent overseas to reinforce troops there. He ended up in the Battle of the Bulge.  Before then he was stationed in Belgium before moving out towards Germany.  This is the first letter that my dad to my  mom after arriving in Belgium.  In it he is writing his concerns for one of his son's health and also very concerned about his brother Donald.  Little did my dad know what he was about to have happen to him in active warfare.

Here is my dad in uniform in the Belgium village in 1944. I have those patches from the uniform. I can't imagine how that uniform stayed safe as he went to battle. They must have returned to Belgium when the war was declared over to retrieve his things.

The are so many questions that I will never get to ask now but it is interesting how you don't even thing about them until the person involved is gone.

Both Donald and Jesse are gone now. Donald died a few years before my dad, who died in 2000.

Check out the others who are participating in Sepia Saturday by clicking here.


Bob Scotney said...

This is very interesting and a sound background to your family. It's noticeable to me that people in the USA seem to know more about their family background than many of us in the UK, myself included.


interesting pics. i prefer the one where they sit together. those were difficult times that separated families for duty, but it is nice to know they both got to "come home". hopefully, without too many consequences to their health, mentally or physically.


Alan Burnett said...

A fascinating story which says so much about our parent's generation and the hardships they all had to face. The illustrations just bring the tale to life.

Anonymous said...

That's a great story, thank you for sharing it with us. My grand uncle was at the Battle of the Bulge. He never spoke of it. I'm curious if your dad was affected in the same way and also never spoke of it.

L. D. Burgus said...

My dad came home shell shocked. His brother picked him up at the airport and had to put him to bed for a week before he could send him home. My dad was affected mentally by it and would talk about it all the time without any cue from anybody. He got worse when he was dying as he was haunted by it forever. My mom would shut him down every chance she could but it didn't stop him from talking.


I rest my case...
my empathy for your father.
as I said,
difficult times...
this should not be forgotten...

Tattered and Lost said...

Every other month I go with my father to a luncheon for World War II aviators. Few are left from the original 150 that began the group, but I always pause when I look around the room and wonder about the untold stories. They never brag except in jest. There are those who were prisoners of war who hide the memories the best they can. I have to wonder how many walking wounded there are from so many wars unable to find friendship with others who experienced the same.

Honorable post.

Far Side of Fifty said...

That letter just about breaks my heart..what a treasure you have in it to add to all your family history. MY husbands Uncle was at the Battle of the Bulge..if I recall correctly he was a driver for Patton..and we always wished we had asked him more about it. He has been gone many years now:(