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Monday, June 24, 2013

About the Dear letters, WWII

This blog will be five years old in November. The most popular piece is written by my father, way back during WWII. The letters he wrote to my mother while he was overseas fighting a war. The majority of those notes were censored, meaning they were read by some military person to make sure my father was not sharing military secrets with the enemy. So there is a vagueness about them, a guarded script, like someone looking over one's shoulder. The do share the emotion of someone doing what they feel must be done and their uncomfortable-mess with the surroundings, circumstances and the not knowing about anything that is going on. In today's world we learn everything instantly. Back then, newspapers, radio and television in a small way, let everyone know what was going on. But, here is a guy in his thirties with a daughter he never saw, living every day in danger, unaware about everything except what was right in front of him. The only link with his outside world were the letters he received from family and friends, sometimes it was weeks before he received a post, sometimes plenty arrived together. It was his lifeline, and because he was a soldier on the front lines, he had to destroy the mail he received, so we have on an idea of what people wrote to him. Little stories of home life that reminded him of other places instead of the mud in front of him. He sounds so young. His first trip and only trip overseas. He volunteered, probably because he felt obligated. All his friends and relatives of age were drafted or volunteered. He felt strongly about doing his part to win the war. He drove a truck to bring supplies to the front lines, or he was chauffeuring  the general. You don't learn that from his letters. They don't really say anything about the war, except for the mud, rain and the cigarettes. Like the worker bee, he did his job, he did what was required of him. He did his best. And like the worker bee, he was one among the many. They are all very simple letters written mostly in pencil. Throughout the years writing you get the sense of the person, alone, lost, lonely, in a strange place, unable to leave, wanting to leave, waiting to leave, thinking of home, worrying about those at home, annoyed that he was not there to take care of things. He was a self educated man, who made something of himself, who read books to learn how to achieve his goals. A man with integrity who had some bad luck in his life, the worst being his mother dying when he was about five years old. A guy who grew up on the streets and set his standard of right and wrong above the average, and who was beaten down several times, just because of circumstances out of his control. And his days in the army captured in the letters he wrote to my mother, say nothing, and everything about being a soldier at war.

Who knew, the blog I started to express myself the easy way, putting out there what I believe is important and valuable, and it is my father who is the star. I guess I really knew how important those letters are, they are the most read items on the site. Good for him, he always wanted  to make a positive difference in the world.

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