I am a 76-year-old BOI (Born on the Island). My peers and I were the young school children of World War II. Fort Crockett, simply put, remains sentimental to me.
My childhood home was in the 4600 block of the Denver Drive area, only two blocks from Fort Crockett. It provided comfort to us that the Island was protected from German U-2 boats and submarines. The fort was not merely bricks and mortar, but a full, bustling military complex with an officer’s club, a post exchange, and prisoners of war.
Because the windows were open, the bugle was our alarm. We could literally hear the flag being raised and lowered each day. My dad spent four years overseas on a destroyer in the Pacific theater. For a small girl and her siblings and all residents, Fort Crockett was a bulwark against the Nazi regime that was oil poor with a bull’s eye on Texas City for its refineries — not to mention, our port.
We saw German prisoners of war doing yard work at the fort. They looked just like us, except for their haircuts. Occasionally, a prisoner would escape, and we’d have sirens blaring and lights out, as when a suspicious aircraft was overhead.
Imagine our sleepy village with the melodies of the Big Band era like Frank Sinatra melting your heart with “I’ll be seeing you” and other love songs of the era, especially nostalgic because of the war and separation. The young G.I.’s were the best-looking guys I have ever seen, and the women wore flowers in their hair and bright red nails and lips. Women were told to look pretty, so our men would remember what they were fighting for, to come home to.
Why not put one heck of a fabulous World War II monument at 45th and Crockett where the old guard house stood? Then, if we must, sell off the rest of the old fort that is so special to a few of us who may be as dilapidated as the old buildings. The last clear cut war that we won should have a monument.
Ann McLeod Moody