Gene Bradshaw, 99, of Mineola, said he was in Longview when he heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor had been attacked.
“I went home and told my wife to get ready because I was probably leaving,” Bradshaw said. “Me and my three brothers were all drafted.”
On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, Bradshaw said he is still bitter about the war.
“I don’t like talking about the war,” Bradshaw said. “My mama was a sweet mother. I don’t believe it was right to take all of a mama’s sons and send them to war.”
Bradshaw said he and his oldest brother, Hurley, served in the Army and his other brothers, whom he didn’t name, served in the Navy.
“My brother (Hurley) died in that mess over there (Normandy),” Bradshaw said. “It’s not a good story to tell when your brother dies and you come home and your business closed down.”
He said Hurley wasn’t a paratrooper, but went in on the boats and died in France.
Bradshaw said he served in the Pacific Theater in the Philippines and Japan after his initial training.
“After Japan, I came home,” Bradshaw said. “I started another dry-cleaning business in Mineola that was open for 30 years. I got married to a really sweet woman and I have great kids.”
The walls of Bradshaw’s room at the Wood Memorial Home in Mineola are covered with pictures of his family.
In the corner of a picture frame are the service pictures of the Bradshaw brothers.
“I made it back,” he said. “Sometimes I didn’t think I was going to make it.”