Only 18

Only+18

Cynthia Mao

Francis Morteimer Schorr sits in front a quilt that was gifted to him by a group of war mothers. He was drafted for the U.S. Army in 1944 at the age of 18. Photo by Angela Wang
Francis Morteimer Schorr was only 18 when he was drafted for the U.S. Army in 1944. He enlisted in WWII for three years and trained for the infantry. Now living at Sunny View Senior Center in Cupertino, Schorr laments the need for war and the impact it had on soldiers and countries.”

“The thing that to this day shakes me up [is that] I could kill a person. They gave me a gun and told me to kill. I’m 18 years old, what do I know about killing?

We wanted to get even. Someday we’ll find out why it started but … it’s a terrible feeling, and when you sit down and think about it, the lives [we] have lost, the dropping of a bomb that could blow up a whole country … We didn’t realize what we had let loose. The atomic bomb — it was too much. I have no way of explaining myself. We didn’t know what had happened with the atomic bomb but we found out when the war ended. What have we gained? We lost plenty. And no one has ever explained anything to me. It makes no sense why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor … I don’t think you can ever get over a shock like that.”