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Reunion of Five Brothers, All Gulf Vets, ‘Felt Like It Did a Long Time Ago’

July 5, 1991

MAURY CITY, Tenn. (AP) _ A woman whose five sons fought in the Persian Gulf had a joyful reunion with them for the first time since the war, saying ″it felt like it did a long time ago.″

Minnie Pearl Jurnett spent Thursday surrounded by her close-knit clan in an Independence Day gathering she will long cherish.

″We just had fun,″ the 53-year-old housekeeper reflected Friday. ″They wrestled and one tried to outdo the other, things like that,″ she said.

Son Terry, 33, came from Fort Stewart, Ga.; William, 34, arrived from Fort Bliss, Texas; Kenneth, 24, is stationed with the Navy in Long Beach, Calif.; Keith, 20, came from Fort Campbell, Ky.; and Tommy, 35, is in the Army Reserve in Nashville where he is a police officer.

They were joined at the reunion, which is continuing through the weekend, by two other sons who did not serve in the military; five daughters; 24 grandchildren; and other relatives.

A yellow ribbon was on the door of Mrs. Jurnett’s small wood-frame house in rural western Tennessee. Five small American flags flew from the rooftop - one for each of her Gulf War veterans.

Kenneth said there weren’t many war stories exchanged.

″Maybe just a couple of words,″ he said. ″We didn’t get too deep.″

The five had spoken by telephone since the war ended but had not been together as a group since then.

Mrs. Jurett, whose estranged husband died in 1982, said she has gotten letters from well-wishers who have read about her family.

″I got one just this week from a lady in Florida,″ she said. ″She sent me her address and said the boys could stop by and see her any time.″

The only thing she regrets about her sons serving in the military: ″I didn’t care for them all going at once.″

Brother Tommy, called ″the head honcho″ by his younger brothers, put up a basketball goal on the lawn and fulfilled a promise to challenge his siblings at hoops.

″I played a little, but mostly I just ate,″ Kenneth said. ″Burgers and more burgers.″

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