Here's a WWII sailors story. "Home" ...
Alfred Chan, by age 20, still had never been further than 80 miles from his home in the Sacramento Delta, Courtland, CA. But in 1944, as a US Navy Seabee, Al was shipped 3200 miles deep into the Pacific Ocean to Midway Island. He was the only Asian in a Construction Battalion sent to build critical airfields and munition depots for the invasion of Japan. Al served on Midway until V-J Day (Victory over Japan), marking the end of the Pacific War in 1945. Al tells his sailors story, of returning home by ship as he saw the Golden Gate Bridge in the horizon…
"As the ship neared the harbor, everyone excitedly ran to the railings shouting, "San Francisco, San Francisco!" There was an uproar with the ship whistle blasting.There were people waving on the dock. Everybody aboard was so glad they threw everything overboard, including their hats. Some got on their knees, whispering thanks for returning home alive. Some started crying. Many just held onto each other. We shouted, "Home, home, home. We’re home".
I got on the gangplank, and thought with my first step, "On my way home. So close now, I can almost smell the farmland".
I took a bus back to our farmhouse, alone. I still had my uniform on. I walked in the door, and saw my mom painting the kitchen. She knew one day, I would be coming home. But not know what day. I remembered she dropped her paint brush, grabbed me, and would not let go. Home at last. Home at last. I finished the paint job for her."
Excerpted from the Locke Foundation Oral History Project