WWII veteran turned 103 Sunday

Forrest County's oldest veteran talks some about her life and times over the past 103 years.
Published: Nov. 28, 2021 at 11:07 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A World War II veteran turned 103 Sunday, making her the oldest veteran in Forrest County.

Edith James was born Nov. 28, 1918, in Richton.

“I went to school beyond high school when nobody else did from my community,” James said. “We were very, very poor, but everybody else was poor, too, out in the country where we lived.

“My dad was a sharecropper, and I went to college over here at (University of Southern Mississippi) with two pairs of shoes and a box full of clothes.”

James served in the Navy as a pharmacist’s mate from April 10, 1943, through Oct. 17, 1945. She says part of the reason she wanted to serve her country was because of her family.

“That was a time when everybody was finding some way to serve in that war,” James said. “And my brother was lying in a hospital in Paris, he had been severely wounded in Patton’s army in Europe. And everybody just felt like they had to do something, you know, to help end that war.”

She was stationed in the eastern part of the United States.

“The motto said, ‘Join the Navy, see the world...,’” James said. “One of my main assignments was at Jackson, Mississippi. So, I wasn’t seeing much of the world in Jackson, Mississippi. But, it was a nice experience anyway.”

Although she wasn’t stationed in other parts of the world, she was still able to see it.

“I’ve done a lot of traveling all over the world,” James said. “I wanted to do that and I have done that. I’ve been all over Europe and went to China.”

She also wanted to give back even more to her community after serving in the Navy and after being a teacher.

“I’ve had 25 years volunteering here at Forrest General (Hospital) and about eight or 10 at Wesley,” James said. “I wanted to give back because I had been given so much.”

James went on the teach in Petal for 25 years after the war. She retired from teaching in 1984.

Copyright 2021 WDAM. All rights reserved.