By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Pearl Harbor - A sister's faith rewarded
Dixie Sanders' brother was presumed dead after Dec. 7, 1941 attack
W Dixie at Pearl
Dixie Sanders is shown at the USS Arizona Monument at Pearl Harbor when she visited in 1984. - photo by Photo courtesy Dixie Sanders

              Dixie Sanders was 10 years old when her family received word her brother George Turner was missing in action after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941.
        A resident of Statesboro since the 1989, she was living in in Augusta, Kansas in 1941, growing up on a farm with her parents George and Freida Turner, and seven brothers. Dixie was the only girl.
        She loved her brothers and remembers the devastation her family felt when they heard young George, who was serving in the Navy on the USS Arizona, was missing. He was presumed dead, but Dixie thought better.
        She remembers hearing the announcement of the bombing on the radio, with family gathered around.
        "I kept telling them he was alive," she said. "My uncle told me if I kept talking like that, they would have to put me in the looney bin."
        Now 85, Sanders said she dreamed about a casket, but no one in it, and she knew in her heart her brother was alive.
        As days passed, with daily reports on the radio and visits from friends and neighbors, the assumption young George Turner was dead remained. And then, days later, a telegram arrived and the family learned George was indeed, alive.
        "Mama fainted," Sanders said. "I was stunned, but I said ‘I told you so.' All the family thought he was dead but I knew he was alive. When they found out, they asked me how I knew. I told them about the dream and that I felt it.
        "I have known ever since, when I was going to lose a family member," she said. "I have a good spirit guide."
        When the Japanese bomb that that sank the Arizona exploded in the munitions area in the front of the ship, Turner was in sick bay, recovering from two broken arms he had sustained in an ice skating injury on a date. Somehow that saved him from death, she said.
        It was a while before her brother came home from World War II and when he did, he had injuries to his left arm, hand and leg, Sanders said. He limped and used a cane, but "he insisted on walking with his cane in the Veterans parade" when the soldiers came home, Sanders recalled.
        Turner later went to Pittsburgh, Kansas to visit the woman who would become his wife, and he worked in her family's restaurant, she said.
        When Sanders visited Pearl Harbor almost 50 years after the attack, she remembered seeing bullet holes in buildings, and the monument of the USS Arizona.
        "You can still see part of ship at the monument," underwater, she said.
        Sanders said her brother never talked about the bombing. She said she never fully understood the horror he must have felt until she overheard someone talking at the Pearl Harbor memorial.
        "They were talking about having 55 gallon drums on the beach, picking up body parts," she said.
        Sanders knew then that while her brother was fortunate to have survived the attack, the injuries to his arm and leg were not his only wounds. She said she understood then why he never talked about the horrors.


Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter