Growing up, my Dad would never talk about his WWII
experiences. I knew he was overseas fighting the
Germans for almost three years and that he was awarded
some medal, but that was about it. The War was a
Over time I filled in some of the blanks. North Africa
(Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia), Sicily, England, France
(D-Day +3), Belgium, and Germany. The medal was a
Silver Star, "I just did something that other guys would
have done-and did. I just got a medal for it."
In 1994 my parents went to France to be a part of the
50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. When he came
back he said, "I have a bunch of letters I wrote during
the war. Would you like to read them?"
More than a hundred letters later, I knew my father
This is an excerpt from my favorite. Dated December 13,
1944 (three days before the Battle of the Bulge started),
it is written to my Aunt Kit in response to a letter she wrote,
telling Dad she was pregnant again and that she was
concerned about the world she was bringing a new life into:
"....No one can ever realize just how precious and pleasant
and hopeful life can be until it is almost snatched away. I
have had one or two close calls that left me so scared I
didn't realize how lucky I was. Then I knew so deep within
my heart that it almost hurt, that even in the midst of the
most terrible war man has ever known, just to live and be
with people is worth all the hurts and agony man inflicts
No, Kit, a little child brought into the world at such a time
as this is probably more fortunate than ever.
I seldom thought about this before I went into combat
but one begins to get a far different slant on all that life
means. If you could see what these fellows go through
for each other, how much each one depends on is buddy
simply for his life, then you could know and appreciate
all this talk of mine. Very few GIs are sentimental enough
to talk about things like this and yet the American boy
overseas is the most sentimental guy in the world.
Somehow out of all this madness and blindness the people
of the world will find the true way of life as Christ taught
so long ago. No matter how it may seem to us at the
moment there are the ever encircling arm of God to lead
us through the blindness into the light......"