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Trains Headed South

I was born and raised in an old Frisco Railroad house, which was in reality, a shack. The front door and porch was about 50’ from the railroad tracks.

When I was 5-years old, WW11 was in full force, and I spent countless hours near the tracks watching the trains, all headed south toward Texas. My dad, who worked for the Frisco, told me that the trains were destined for Galveston, where the soldiers and war materials would board ships headed for Europe and/or the Pacific Theater.

I didn’t know what a German was since my parents hadn’t told me about them. But the Japanese was another story. I had seen some photos of Japanese soldiers beheading US Army and Navy GI’s on beaches as the Americans were on their knees, blindfolded. Therefore, I developed a hatred for the Japanese that was boundless – it never left me.

Rail car after rail car would race by our house, most carrying soldiers, many who would die in faraway places. Other rail cars were flat, carrying tanks, artillery, Jeeps, armored troop carriers, and tens of thousands of machine guns, rifles and other implements of war.

Many of the soldiers, spying me, would throw me packets of chewing gum, a rare treat.

I only knew one thing: I’d yell at the top of my kid voice:

“KILL SOME JAPS! KILL SOME JAPS!” I yelled it until I’d grow hoarse and couldn’t yell anymore.

Then, I’d go inside the house, find my mom, and weep until I fell asleep in her arms.
-james a clark