Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Featured here are excerpts from some of the letters in Andy Carroll's book, War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars, dramatized in the American Experience film. Find these and more at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/warletters/letters/index.html.
June 18, 1918
"We were all subjected to several different kinds of [gas] today, with and without masks... It sure is horrible stuff, honey."

Lukert was wounded in France, but he did return home to his wife. He spent 36 years in the Army and was a regimental commander in World War II.
December 12, 1862
"...the acres of little shelter tents are dark and still as death, no wonder for as I gazed sorrowfully upon them, I thought I could almost hear the slow flap of the grim messenger's wings, as one by one he sought and selected his victims for the morning sacrifice... Oh northern mothers wives and sisters... would to Heaven that I could bear for you the concentrated woe which is so soon to follow..."

After the war, Barton went on to found the American Red Cross.
January 18, 1944
"We now have a mix of wounded, medical patients, and battle-fatigued soldiers. ...The wounded were happy to be missing only one arm or leg... I have a terrible earache but as usual I have to work. The patients need me."

Wandrey served in Western Europe and North Africa as a combat nurse, accumulating eight battle stars in some of the war's bloodiest campaigns. At age 81, she was still receiving letters from some of her patients.

March 8, 1991
"I can't describe it. I mean the scene on the highway. We all just looked at it in the moonlight as we drove through the now silent carnage... ...It's only been the last couple of days that I've come to realize the horror that has taken place here. ...And I think it's taken so long because with only the small number of exceptions on our part, it was almost entirely theirs..."

After the war, Welch developed asthma, memory and equilibrium problems. He has since retired from the military.
December 31, 1945
"This is the last day of the last month of the year, and this should be the last letter that I shall write to you... So long, honey, and pucker up -- 'cause here I come."

On leave from Camp Shanks in Orangeburg, New York, Hoffman met Evelyn Giniger just days before he was to go to Europe with the 12th Army Division, in October 1944. After five dates with Evelyn on five consecutive nights, Nathan was restricted to camp, as were all the soldiers who were about to leave. He sent her an orchid with a note that read, "I'll be seeing you," taking his words from the popular song of that name. Nathan began writing Evelyn in between bouts of seasickness on the transport ship to Europe, and she wrote back. As the 12th advanced through France and Germany, Evelyn and Nathan's correspondence continued, running to thousands of pages -- which they both saved. When Nathan came home in January 1946, Evelyn was already in Waco, waiting for him. They were married a month later.

"November 11th 1918 will always be remembered by yours truly...At 10:45 the order came to cease firing... That was absolutely the happiest moment of my life. The rest of the day little groups of smiling Germans came up to the line with tobacco and wine..."

Palmer returned home after the war and played for the Western Reserve University football team.

Thank you to all who have served,

1 comment:

David S. said...

YAY!!!! I love thanking those who have served this country, and they deserve our thanks so much, each and every one of them!