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Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

My friend, Donna, woke up early today, thinking about her Mom’s brothers and their service to their country.  She has always wondered why a movie was never done about the Butler Boys from a dry land farm in SW Colorado.  She graciously agreed to let me share her recollections with you.  She remembers their story this way:

 

When WWII began, so did their service.  It is hard to imagine the pride but also the fear only a mother could know as Mary Magdeline Butler said farewell to her sons, Harry, Paul, David, Morris, Wilbur, and John. Six sons off the fight for their country. One never to return, two so damaged from their time in prisoner camps they never spoke of the war again, and the remainder who took the experiences with tenacity and etched out very successful lives.

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> Harry, the oldest was a Navy pilot. He was stationed in England but along with the British Fly Boys, they were responsible for ferrying and dropping bombs on the German Army. One winter morning, before de-icing the planes was known, Harry and his crew crashed into a rural field shortly after take off.  All were killed. My nephew, Mark, a Naval officer, has the flag that draped Harry’s casket.

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> Paul and Morris were captured and spent over two years in prison camps. The torture and abuse they received was never spoke about once they came home. Both had severe cases of PTSD, unknown in their day. They etched out quiet solitude lives.

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> David and Wilbur were Navy all the way. David was assigned to a ship under the command of an alcoholic, spending most of his time in a drunken stupor. David was asked by the men on the ship to take over leadership. He was often seen in the mechanic room helping repair the ship or sewing on many of the items for men and for the ship (a skill he learned from his Mother). He was an inventor, creating the first machine (in his garage at age 52) that mass produced plastic bags for stores, plastic hospital gowns and gloves.  He often traveled for business to the very areas he had fought in during the war. He became a millionaire.  Wilbur helped build many of the on the ground camps, driving heavy machinery.  He was a very successful businessman owning his own heavy equipment and excavating company, skills perfected in the army.

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> John, the youngest of the sons, was wounded and sent home shortly after the war began. He lied about his age, entering the army at age 16.  He was a Godsend to the family as his Dad was sent to a T.B. Clinic far away from their home for two years.  The operation of the farm and orchards became young John’s job, one he stuck with throughout his life. At age 80, he still has a small farm and orchard 15 miles from me.

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> There was tremendous pride in the small community for the six Butler Boys who served their country. Stories were written in the local paper honoring them.  I remember as a small child, watching a 4th of July parade in which the five sons were the Parade Marshalls. all decked out in their uniforms of their past and behind them, a lone horse with boots draped over the saddle in memory of the brother that did not come home.

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