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Letters to Home

V-Mail Letter; Unknown Author

When I was younger, I believed the romanticized version of war based on the Hollywood movies I watched while growing up.  As I got older and started reading women’s experiences in the Civil War, I started realizing that war is not romantic at all.  While attending a Gettysburg reenactment watching thousands of men marching off to “battle,” it struck me that, in the actual battle, not one of them would return home.  I sobbed and decided right then and there that there had to be better ways to resolve conflict than through war.  I usually spend Memorial Day weekend crying off and on as I think about the men (and now women) who bravely faced the untold horrors of war.  I think about their families and the citizens who made sacrifices on the home front.  And, I think about my teacher education students, members of the ROTC and National Guard, who were unable to complete their classes with me because they were called up to active duty.

If you do an Internet search, you can find a lot of sites that feature old letters that soldiers wrote to their loved ones.  But, I feel a special kinship with the letters our friend Kathy W. shared this past winter on her blog.  They were written by her father to his parents.  They start here and then you need to work backwards (clicking “newer post) to read the entire collection.

Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your father’s letters.

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  2. Thank you Dr. julie for a thoughful post. And thank you for introducing me to Kathy’s blog. My Grandfather was almost too old to serve in WWII, I belive – he served in Greenland – and he was living in Klamath Falls, OR – he is from MT – so I feel we have some common ground having family in the NW. My Grandmother who just passed away in Sept. wrote a memoir, and she gave me some of my Grandfather’s letter’s that he wrote to her when he was in Greenland, and they are a treasure. Happy Memorial day to you. Ann

  3. Thanks for the mention of the mwhomestead, Dr. J. As you know, my dad’s story is not one of a successful soldier but the honest saga of an “older” man in basic training. The sub-story is about his elderly parents on the farm in Idaho who really need his help. When we talk about war, we focus on the soldiers — and rightly so — but it seems like there’s so much we don’t know about how the war affected the lives of average citizens, which is an interesting history in itself.

    It’s great that Ann’s grandmother wrote a memoir and gave her some letters.

  4. It depends upon how you define “success.” To me, he seemed pretty successful in doing what he was asked to do despite his age.

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