Everett Smith was born Dec. 12, 1914 and grew up across from the gentle waves of Jamaica Bay on an island one mile long and barely four blocks wide. This was the tight-knit community of Broad Channel, New York. He resided with his mother
young Everett and Mother, Anna
Anna on peaceful East 9th Road and spent his days between school, working and helping to care for his grandmother. Everett’s nickname had always been “Smitty” and so, the name of his fishing station came to be. In 1939, at 24 years of age, he married a woman named Catherine and she joined the Smith household.
News of Hitler and his rise to power filtered into the newspapers and radio, but the Smith’s still had the memories of WWI and their financial struggles in what would be become known as the Great Depression. The majority of the U.S. population held the ideal of isolationism in high regard and the Smith household agreed wholeheartedly. Everett was baffled by FDR’s election as his past political and personal records indicated both amoral and often criminal behavior. The president began to stretch his powers to the limit to assist his friend, Winston Churchill, but U.S. citizens were straining to survive.
On Oct. 30, 1940, Roosevelt spouted in Boston, “I give you one more assurance. I have said it before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent to any foreign wars.” My father did not believe FDR then and as we look back — he was right.
Everett received his draft notice in Sept. 1942. He would be sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey where he volunteered for the paratroopers. He would immediately then be sent to Camp MacKall, North Carolina for the start of his vigorous training. Smitty became part of one of the most unique army units of its day, the 11th Airborne Division, Headquarters Company, 187th regiment.
**** My next post is bound to be the most controversial one I intend to put into this blog. In my day, students were taught the history that was printed in their textbooks. Today – technology and open acrchive material enable anyone to search for both sides to any story …