On the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, we celebrate our American heroes and the sacrifices they made, and continue to make, for our freedom. We must never forget the bravery and selflessness of our men and women in armed service; their stories are ones that must be preserved, passed on from one generation to the next.
During World War II, letters from family, friends, and romantic interests were the key to maintaining the morale of the men and women in combat. “Mail was indispensable,” one infantryman said, “It motivated us. We couldn’t have won the war without it” (PBS: http://www.pbs.org/thewar/at_home_communication_letters_diaries.htm). Soldiers wrote letters to their loved ones back home to update them about the war and alleviate their worries.
Private Sid Phillips was deployed to Guadalcanal Island to fight on the Pacific front. In a letter from Phillips to his family, he writes in response to a letter he received from them on September 3, 1942, the day after his 18th birthday:
September 3, 1942
Dear Mother, Dad, Katharine, and John:
Yesterday we got our first mail, the best birthday present possible for me. … After mail call everybody would be nice and quiet when suddenly somebody would curse in a loud voice and shout, “Alice got married.” It really was funny. Cherokee got word that he is out in the cold and really surprised us all. One fellow in our squad got a box of cookies that had been reduced to dust and the dust was soon reduced leaving an empty box…. Daddy! You absent-minded prof. When you write to mother, you better mail it to her and not accidentally put it in my letter. I destroyed it and didn’t show it to the boys though, just to show what a sport I am…
Tell everybody hello for me…