Coming Home

It didn’t take long for the soldiers to start returning home. Men who had spent months and years in battle – living in foxholes, jumping out of airplanes – now simply wanted to come home. Chuck Paty sailed into Boston Harbor, unable to believe that after serving on the Battleship North Carolina the entire duration of the war, that it was actually over. Virginia Russell arrived to a Jacksonville bus station full of relatives. Tom Alley was so anxious to get home that he thumbed from Fort Bragg to Charlotte – catching 13 rides – so that he could see his family in what would be an emotional homecoming. The World War II soldiers were heroes to a grateful nation. Alda Womack even named her newborn son after a soldier who died in her brother’s arms.

Chuck Paty served in the Navy aboard the USS North Carolina. He remembers the day the battleship pulled into Boston Harbor after the war: “We’re coming’ into Boston Harbor. The harbor is all decorated up. People are lining the shore. Bands are out on docks. The harbor’s full of small boats and big boats, tug boats and everything else and they are all tooting their whistles and celebrating, giving us a salute. And uh, all of us are thinking, particularly us who had set through the whole darn event, four years. I’m getting home! I’m alive! I can’t believe it, you know?” - CHUCK PATY