Holly Rees was born in Prescott, Arizona, in 1926. He was drafted into the Army in 1944 and was sent to Okinawa as part of a fresh batch of replacements in 1945. After 38 days of fierce combat, he was shot in the foot by a Japanese sniper and spent several months in the hospital. While he was in the hospital, he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, and he was discharged from the Army in 1946.
He then went to the University of Arizona, graduated cum laude in three years, and met his wife, who was from Mississippi. They decided to move to Texas, where he worked in the Social Security Administration at various Texas locations. He was the supervisor of the Bryan location from 1957 until he retired in 1984. Sixty years after moving here, Mr. Rees still lives in Bryan, Texas.
When Holly Rees remembers his family’s experiences and sacrifices during and after World War II, he sees three flags: the Blue Star banner denoting the number of his family’s sons who served, the American flag folded for a funeral service, and the personal Rising Sun banner of an enemy infantryman. He spent six months writing the story of Three Flags and Two Brothers: To War and Back by hand on notebook paper and nine months transcribing it into a manuscript. The book went through seven years of various editors before being published.
It is the story of Mr. Rees and his war hero brother. Tom Knowles, a local military historian, helped Mr. Rees arrange his tales into a collection and published the book. Knowles suggested dividing the book into three sections: experiences in World War II, caring for his wife, and returning to Okinawa 60 years after the war. Royalties from the books will be donated to military museums across the United States, including the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg.
The Bryan+College Station Public Library System currently carries his book.
Three Flags and Two Brothers: To War and Back. (2016). ISBN 978-0979435485.
Articles About Author’s Work
Guest at Meet the Author Day, Saturday, April 29, 2017, 10 AM to 12 PM
at Mounce Library, 201 E. 26th St., Bryan, TX 77803