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Brothers in War Bonded by Blood
It was a hot summer in the year of 1944. In a small west Texas town lived a family of 7. There was a mother a father and 5 brothers. The brothers were all pretty close in age, except the youngest one had been spread out a little further, he was an unexpected child actually and was about 10 years younger than the eldest boy, whom was to be 20 this year. They all pretty much helped out on the farm where they lived. Days were long and hot in Texas and the boys helped out their dad everyday, either out picking cotton or doing something on the farm, as there was always something to do.
It had been a long hard depression and it was coming to a head, meat rationing throughout the United States had come to a halt. The war with Japan had started after that infamous day when Pearl Harbor got attacked. Now it looked like the United States had been dragged into the war in Europe and our brave American boys went.
The four oldest brothers decided that they were all going to enlist in the military in order to protect and defend their country. Their mother was against it entirely, their father looked upon it as something that needed to be done. Of course he didn’t want anything to happen to his boys but he had always been one to take care of business and he knew his boys needed to do this.
The eldest brother enlisted in the Army and so one by one they all went, two others in the Marines,and one in the Air Force. They were all spread throughout Europe. The youngest brother watched as his brothers went to war. He wanted to go with them; he kept his mother company while the brothers were gone, he accompanied her to church everyday as she prayed for her boys, everyday she and the youngest boy would kneel down and pray for the brothers and for their safe return. There didn’t seem to be an end in sight for this horrid war. Still everyday, the prayers, the candles, dreaming and hoping that it would finally come to an end.
Finally one at a time letters came to the house about the brothers. One was shot and wounded but he was fine and he was returning home soon. The mother wept and thanked the lord. The second letter wasn’t as promising. The eldest brother had been captured and at this time they regretted to inform that they had no idea how the eldest brother was doing or if he was even still alive. The mother fell to her knees and wept, prayed, more candles and more going to the church for hours at a time, everyday. The other two brothers were well and had even been writing on a regular basis and everyone was so grateful for that.
Finally the liberation of Europe had begun, the news came that the war was over and all prisoners were liberated, everyone celebrated, it was a joyous occasion. The family and friends and relatives just worried how the brothers would return, would they have limbs missing, would they be right in the head, would they be able to walk and run and most importantly would they ever be able to put this war behind them.
Surely as they all left one by one, one by one they returned. They came by plane, by bus and by train. The last one to come home was the eldest who had been shot and captured in Germany. He was frail and worn but he returned. The mother knelt down before them all and practically kissed their feet. They were all a little different when they returned, the father saw something in their eyes; he knew their eyes had seen things that no one should have to see and experience. The youngest brother seemed to be the happiest that he got his brothers back. Slowly as the days and years passed things got back to normal.
The year was 1949 and the youngest brother was not that little anymore, he had just turned 18 and had thoughts about going to college. He had met a girl in his last year of high school and things were progressing at a rapid pace. He had seen all his brothers marry and start having children and he was the next in line to wed.
Then in the summer of 1950, the letter arrived addressed to the younger brother. He had been drafted into the Army, he was on his way to Korea. Everyone was astonished that this could happen again. The mother could not let her baby go, of course he was already 18 and just the ripe age for drafting and introducing him to the horrors of war. What one country can do to another. He had no choice, he had to go and deep down he was proud to go, he had been too young to go to Europe to fight the tyranny of Hitler and Mussolini, but he was going to make his brothers and family proud and he would go do his duty. His marriage was going to have to wait until he returned. He took pictures of his family and of his girl and he boarded a bus to be inducted. He was a brave young man and when he said his final farewells to his family and his girl that day, deep down he felt in his heart that he would never see them again.
Months later another letter arrived at the farmhouse. The letter said that the youngest brother had been on a mission and was one of the soldiers that hadn’t returned, he was MIA. More tears from the mother, more trips to church and more candles to burn for the youngest brother. This time not any amount of candles would bring back the youngest brother. Yet another letter arrived in the winter of 1953, 3 years since the youngest brother vanished. It was a letter regretting to inform that the youngest brother had now been declared dead by the United States Army.
Dedicated to my uncle the youngest brother.
This is what reads on the Korean War Project Remembrance- An organization to try to bring remains home to family through DNA.
PFC REFUGIO CANTU TAMAYO
31st Infantry Regiment
7th Infantry Division
Hostile, Died While Missing (MIA)
Date Of Loss: December 12, 1950
Service Number: RA18346089
CAMERON COUNTY, TX
Location of Loss: HAMHUNG
Born: March 24, 1931
Comments: PFC Tamayo was a member of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was listed as Missing in Action while fighting the enemy in North Korea on December 12, 1950. He was presumed dead on December 31, 1953.