Days Gone By - stories from the past

This 1942 video reveals how three cities worked to solve problems created by WWII includes the city of Mobile

December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan and the United States was brought into WWII. Cities all over the country were turned upside down and everyone had to work out wartime difficulties as they occurred in their communities.

Cities worked together to solve war problems

The Video below reveals the cooperative efforts of four cities to solve wartime problems. It includes many closeups of the people. In Norfolk, Virginia, residents in an emergency housing community set up, equip, and operate the Alexander Park School.

The Things Our Fathers Saw: The Untold Stories of the World War II Generation from Hometown, USA-Voices of the Pacific Theater

It also provides a glimpse of Mobile, Alabama during this time when trailers and emergency housing had to be set up to relieve crowded living conditions and many of the beautiful mansions were used as dorms.

In Detroit, residents of a trailer city build and operate a nursery school.

In Ogden, Utah, citizens of the Cache Valley donate their Sundays to unload trains and store military supplies. There is a brief break in the middle of the film, but it continues a few moments later.

Check out these books by Alabama Author Donna R Causey

Read about the beginning of Mobile, Alabama in ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1)

The Things Our Fathers Saw-The Untold Stories of the World War II Generation From Hometown, USA-Volume I: Voices of the Pacific Theater (Kindle Edition)

The telephone rings on the hospital floor, and they tell you it is your mother, the phone call you have been dreading. You’ve lost part of your face to a Japanese sniper on Okinawa, and after many surgeries, the doctor has finally told you that at 19, you will never see again. The pain and shock is one thing. But now you have to tell her, from 5000 miles away.

— ‘So I had a hard two months, I guess. I kept mostly to myself. I wouldn’t talk to people. I tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do when I got home. How was I going to tell my mother this? You know what I mean?’ ~Jimmy Butterfield, WWII Marine veteran

~From the author of ‘The Things Our Fathers Saw’ World War II eyewitness history series~

How soon we forget. Or perhaps, we were never told. That is understandable, given what they saw.

— ‘I was talking to a shipmate of mine waiting for the motor launch, and all at once I saw a plane go over our ship. I did not know what it was, but the fellow with me said, ‘That’s a Jap plane, Jesus!’ It went down and dropped a torpedo. Then I saw the Utah turn over.’ ~Barney Ross, U.S. Navy seaman, Pearl Harbor

At the height of World War II, LOOK Magazine profiled a small American community for a series of articles portraying it as the wholesome, patriotic model of life on the home front. Decades later, author Matthew Rozell tracks down over thirty survivors who fought the war in the Pacific, from Pearl Harbor to the surrender at Tokyo Bay.

— ‘Rage is instantaneous. He’s looking at me from a crawling position. I didn’t shoot him; I went and kicked him in the head. Rage does funny things. After I kicked him, I shot and killed him.’ ~Thomas Jones, Marine veteran, Battle of Guadalcanal

These are the stories that the magazine could not tell to the American public.

— ‘I remember it rained like hell that night, and the water was running down the slope into our foxholes. I had to use my helmet to keep bailing out, you know. Lt. Gower called us together. He said, ‘I think we’re getting hit with a banzai. We’re going to have to pull back. ‘Holy God, there was howling and screaming! They had naked women, with spears, stark naked!’ ~Nick Grinaldo, U.S. Army veteran, Saipan

By the end of 2018, fewer than 400,000 WW II veterans will still be with us, out of the over 16 million who put on a uniform. But why is it that today, nobody seems to know these stories? Maybe our veterans did not volunteer; maybe we were too busy with our own lives to ask. But they opened up to the younger generation, when a history teacher told their grandchildren to ask.

— ‘I hope you’ll never have to tell a story like this, when you get to be 87. I hope you’ll never have to do it.’ ~Ralph Leinoff, Marine veteran Iwo Jima, to his teenage interviewer

This book brings you the previously untold firsthand accounts of combat and brotherhood, of captivity and redemption, and the aftermath of a war that left no American community unscathed.

— ‘After 3½ years of starvation and brutal treatment, that beautiful symbol of freedom once more flies over our head! Our POW camp tailor worked all night and finished our first American flag! The blue came from a GI barracks bag, red from a Jap comforter and the white from an Australian bed sheet. When I came out of the barracks and saw those beautiful colors for the first time, I felt like crying!’~Joe Minder, U.S. Army POW, Japan,1945

As we forge ahead as a nation, we owe it to ourselves to become reacquainted with a generation that is fast leaving us, who asked for nothing but gave everything, to attune ourselves as Americans to a broader appreciation of what we stand for.

By (author):  Matthew Rozell

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. Justin Seales

    I am proud that my great state of Alabama came together like that to help out on the war effort!!! People still don’t realize our Industrial Might!!!

  2. I sure like anything about History and early days. I was born on February 14, 1942.

    1. So strange to see your name when I came to this site! I was looking for pictures of my maternal grandmother who was a welder during WWII and then I see your name and I had to stop for a minute and say something because you have the same exact name as my paternal grandmother. Even the last name. My maiden name is Ayers and it was something to see it here today with the name Bernice attached to it. You may never see this but if you do, just know it was a nice remembrance of both my grandmothers in the same place. =)

  3. Linda McKinney

    Believe this is the time period when Prichard Homes was built, for the shipyard workers. My Dad and Mom and I moved there in the early 1950’s.

  4. Karen Mellema

    My Mother and her Parents lived in Mobile during that time and my Grandfather worked in the ship yards and my Grandmother worked there for a short spell.

  5. Barbara Smyth

    My Dad worked at one of the shipyards in Mobile, our hometown. They built tankers for our troops. There were several housing areas for workers, Alabama village, Snug Harbour, Gulf Homes, and Gulf Village. There were others smaller that have disappeared over the years. We lived in Ala Village .

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