Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans' Day..............................

My Father was in the Ninth Infantry of the  U. S. Army during the second world war.  He was overseas for three years, crossing Africa, invading Sicily, training in England, then landing at Normandy (D-Day +3).  After landing and fighting in France, his Division was in Belgium just in time for the Battle of the Bulge.  He was also a wondrous letter writer.  Fortunately, most of those letters were saved.  The following is an excerpt from one dated  December 13, 1944 (three days before the Battle of the Bulge started).  It is written to a dear friend in response to a letter she wrote, telling Dad that she and her husband (Dad's best friend) were pregnant again and that she was concerned about the world she was bringing a new life into.  His response:

"....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 on man.  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 arms of God to lead us through the blindness into the light......There is so much to live for and so many pleasant things to do for and with close friends, that it honestly hurts to be here.   But then two years of combat makes a man sentimental, even though there is seemingly nothing but cynicism and bitterness in his heart.

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