Friday, November 28, 2008

Sailor Fessie

Fessie Manuel Pennington
c 1944

My grandfather was thirty-one years old with a wife and three young daughters when he walked to Fulton from his home in Peaceful Valley to enlist in the Navy on February 2, 1944. Fessie was home on break from his work in the shipyards of Mobile, Alabama. By the end of the month, he was in Navy "boot camp" in Bainbridge, Maryland and by mid-May Fessie was in the Pacific participating in airstrikes against Japanese strongholds.

I can't help but wonder what went through his mind as he traveled by train and bus, and then later by ship, to places he had never seen or ever thought about seeing. Our country asked a lot of men like Fessie . They left the comfort of their homes and families, experienced the atrocities of war, and returned home to business as usual to pick up their lives right where they left off.

Like many other mothers, Ethel Dee Sloan Pennington, had more than one son to worry over during World War II. In addition to Fessie, his brothers Gaylord and Frelon also fought in the war.

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