Anita Vandegrift was born in 1927 in Bordentown, New Jersey, where she attended grammar school. Her family later moved to Burlington, New Jersey, where she began attending high school in 1941. During World War II, many of Anita’s friends joined the service. Anita wrote letters to many of these soldiers. Her husband also served in the Pacific.
Anita speaks about her earliest memories of the war, local boys enlisting, writing letters to soldiers overseas, and her husband’s struggle with PTSD.
Seeing Boys Off to War
JW: Do you remember saying goodbye to any of the guys that you knew before they left or was it just a crazy time?
No, I can’t remember anything in particular, just that I was proud of them. I hated to see them go. I didn’t really understand the horribleness of war, being fourteen and never going anywhere or being anywhere, just always in a hometown or on the farm. I had no thoughts of what they did. I just felt that they were in the service to keep us safe and to fight for us. I just didn’t think about the fighting and the death. And then we would hear about the concentration camps and things and think of how horrible it was.
Interviewee: Anita Vandegrift
Interviewers: Jennifer Weinbaum
Archival Processor: Jillian Curran
Copyeditor: Anton Weintraub, Cameron Vanderscoff
Date: February 28, 2018
Location: Bonita Springs, Florida
Session Number: 1
Project: National Home Front Project
Interview Contributor: Florida Gulf Coast University
Accession Number: VandegriftAnita_HFN-OH_022818