James Garland Nations was a young man with a strong sense of duty and a deep love for his country. Born on July 22, 1918, in Hurricane Township (now known as Six Mile) in Pickens County, South Carolina, he grew up in a family of hard-working individuals. His father, Ila Blansco Nations, was a farmer and a carpenter, and his mother, Floy Rampey Nations, worked tirelessly to care for their family.
As a young man, James was known for his love of hunting and his adventurous spirit. He was a keen outdoorsman, and he spent countless hours exploring the woods and fields near his home. However, his dreams and aspirations extended far beyond the boundaries of his small town. He was determined to make a difference in the world, and he knew that serving his country was the best way to do so.
In May 1938, James enlisted in the United States Navy with a friend. He was determined to do his part in defending the country that he loved, and he worked tirelessly to prepare for his naval career. Over the years, he rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a fire control-man and petty officer second class on the USS Arizona.
However, his promising career was cut short on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. James was on board the USS Arizona when the ship was hit by multiple bombs, and he was reported missing in action. His family was devastated by the news, and they held out hope that he would somehow be found and brought home safely.
As the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, the family’s hope began to fade. Just before Christmas, the box that they had sent to James was returned unopened and with no explanation. It was a cruel blow, and it left them with more questions than answers.
The official notice of James’s death didn’t arrive until early February. He was just 23 years old. Despite their heartbreak, his family took comfort in the knowledge that he had died defending the country that he loved. He was honored at a memorial service at his church, Praters Creek Baptist, on February 8, 1942.
James’s memory lives on, and his sacrifice will always be remembered with gratitude and respect. Although his remains were never recovered, he will always be remembered as a true American hero, who selflessly gave his life in defense of our freedom. His courage and dedication will forever be etched in our hearts, and his memory will never be forgotten.