Before there was e-mail, Twitter, Facebook or any of myriad ways for American Soldiers to communicate with loved ones back home, there was V-MAIL. Below is the text of a V-Mail (a.k.a., “Victory Mail”) message dated Oct. 10, 1944. Written by a 20-year-old Army private serving on the the front lines of war in Northwestern Germany, it carried thoughtful messages as it was delivered to his parents in Promise City, Iowa:
Dear Dad + Mom,
I just finished a couple letters so I think I’ll write a few lines to you. The sky is very clear tonight and it is turning awfully chilly. By morning it will be very nippy I imagine. My socks are a little damp so I am going to put on a dry pair before going to bed. Between the bumps, cold + my rifle in bed with me to keep it dry, I admit I have had more comfortable beds. We’re supposed to get two more blankets soon so it will improve the situation alot. I hope. I got three letters today. They started with the eighteenth, the first mail I got + have been going backwards. Today they dated back to the 11th of Sept. I heard you weren’t feeling so good about that time. I hope you are much better now, mom. You should take your regular vacation in Florida again this winter. Right? Well it’s time to put the cat out and wind the clock for tonight. Goodnite.
Your loving son, Ted.
The American Soldier who wrote the letter above was my dad. Fortunately, he and all three of his older brothers who served during World War II came home alive!
Veterans Day remains special to me, in part, because I served and several of my siblings, in-laws and friends also wore the uniforms of this country’s Armed Forces. It is, however, my dad’s Army experiences that stand out the most. To learn more about those experiences, read the 12-part series, My Father’s War Stories from World War II, which debuted in this space May 25, 2007.
Final note: Please share this with anyone you think might appreciate it.