Family means a lot to Gladys Wells, who came from a family of eight siblings.
The 99-year-old McComb native recalled times of uncertainty, knowing that six of her brothers served in the military and fought overseas.
Of the six, four fought in World War II, one in Vietnam and the other in Korea
"We were poor, the (Great) Depression was when I was in high school," she said. "We were really poor but we were farming."
Gladys is the oldest of all of Curtis and Ruby Martin's 12 children.
Her brothers — John, Warren, Ruben, Curtis Jr., Arnold and Henry — all served in the military in a variety of jobs. John and Warren were quartermasters, Ruben worked as a medic, Curtis Jr. was in the Navy, Arnold was an infantryman in Korea and Henry handed ordnances in Vietnam.
When they turned 18, her brothers were drafted into the military, with the exception of Curtis Jr. and Henry, who both volunteered.
“It was a rough go and we almost lost a war,” she said. “They tried to find every man that they could and send them over there.”
Having multiple sons serving overseas also took a toll on Wells’ mother, she recalled.
“My mother would get up every morning and go into the kitchen and she would sit behind the stove and pray,” she said. “And then she would cry for a while and asked God to send her sons back to her. It was a sad time and it was grievous.”
Her mother’s prayers answered as all of her sons eventually returned home from serving.
“In 1946, two of my brothers came home in December a day apart, the two older ones, one on the 12th and the other on the 13th,” Gladys said.
However, Wells did lose a loved one to war, her fiancée Ralph Coleman, who served during World War II.
“My fiancée was killed over there in the Pacific,” she said. “His ship was torpedoed.”
Gladys grieved over the loss of her fiancée but was extremely thankful that her brothers returned safely.
“Words just couldn’t express it,” she said. “We loved each other and were very close and so we were sad while they were gone. Many of our neighbors lost their sons.”
Today, Gladys’ love for her siblings still goes strong.
Both John and Warren have passed away. Curtis now lives in Sacramento, Calif. Ruben is in Reno, Nev., along with Arnold, who now lives in a veterans nursing home, and Henry lives in Joliet, Ill.