Eight of nine sons answer call to serve during World War II, Korea

Hays, KS

In the Pfannenstiel family, eight out of nine brothers were drafted in World War II or Korea. Five of us served with the Army: Eddie (who became a POW in a German work camp), Ted, Clarence, Paul and Marvin (who was drafted right after Korea). Walter served with the Merchant Marines, then the Army. Julie was in the Navy.

I entered the Marines at the end of World War II, though I’m considered a World War II vet.

Paul’s mother-in-law wrote this poem to commemorate our family’s service:

How much must a family in America give,
How many sons to win a war?
If a family is big or if it be small,
It hurts to take one or all.

We hear many a wail, “He’s all I have.
Why must they take my all?”
Of a family of 12, but nine were sons
And eight of them answered the call.

One was an in-law and he went too
So nine were in the fray,
Seven of them in World War II,
Two went Korea way.

There were Ed and Ted and Walter and Frank
And Clarence and Julie and Paul.
Wendelin* was the in-law son,
and Marvin the youngest of all.

Some of the brides waited for many than one
While hubby was at war;
Many a child greets a real live Dad
Who’s not just a photo after all.

It took many a prayer from the mother’s lips
(And Dad must have said a few).
And the Heavenly Father who watches us all,
To bring all nine of them through.


Our parents were proud, but I know my mother probably said a lot of prayers.

Three of us — Julie, Marvin and me — are left.

« Previous story
Next story »