Brothers in arms: Seven siblings serve country in World War II, Korea

In the Severson household, seven of nine brothers served during war and returned home safely between World War II and Korea.

Four served around the world in World War II: Julian in the Navy, Walter and Paul in the Army Air Corps and Kenneth in the Army. Three of their brother-in-laws also were in the military during that time. Three more Seversons served during the Korean War: Severin and Bert in the Army, Stanley in the Navy.

"We all enlisted, none of us were drafted," Kenneth said.

Having literal brothers in arms kept him worried. He said he never forgot the danger posed to his siblings.

"Because we had friends, friends who were killed, people that we knew who were killed, that never ever came back - some are buried in foreign cemeteries. ... So you always were worried that you'd get a notice or your parents would that somebody in your family had died. We were just maybe blessed that none of us were killed."

His parents didn't escape the stress of having family in harm's way either, especially during WWII. His father immigrated to the United States from Norway at the turn of the century. Three of his father's sisters were still in Norway when it was occupied by the Nazis.

"So it was a little bit more than just our immediate family. ... It was a little bit more than that."

But a sense of duty ultimately overcame fear.

"Part of it is you took pride that you were defending your country. You took pride that you were doing your share."

When they returned, four used the GI Bill to receive college educations. Kenneth went on to graduate school and a career in education as a principal and superintendent.

Submitted by:
American Legion

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