AirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3746 posts, RR: 11 Posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 1792 times:
If you read this I would like you to take a minute to read some of the letters from our departed soldiers. I am a strong man who is incapable of showing emotion, but I will admit that I had tears in my eyes when I read the letter from Lance Cpl. Lance Graham to his family. Everyday we as a society become more and more desensitized with the images that we see on the television. These men help bring us another perspective, a human perspective. Soldiers are not heartless machines, they laugh, cry, feel pain and they love. Take a minute to read these letters, and keep your comments positive. I do not want this thread to become filled with anti-war rhetoric. This thread is meant to be constructive, and positive, it is a tribute to those who laid down their lives, and will never come home.
Dougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1690 times:
I inherited a large box of letters home, photos, some spent rounds and unit patches from a man named Robert Bayless who served with the Flying Tigers as a ground crewman at a yard sale. None of his relatives wanted or needed these mementoes of a life. He was a good son who wrote his parents often and he never betrayed his emotions except in one letter from 1944, when he said he thought the war would never end.
He came home, and picked up the strands of his life. One day in 1964, he was driving to work and saw a woman slip and fall, breaking her hip. Robert got out of his car, lifted the woman up and placed her in his car, and then had a massive heart attack and died trying to save the life of a stranger.
He is buried in Perry, Iowa, and I feel sometimes I am the keeper of his memory. I know I'm the only person who's visited his grave in a long time, and I never knew him in this life. I felt a connection to this long dead man with the easy smile that came through in the pictures I have of him.
If you would like to read about Sgt. Robert Bayless and see some of his pictures, see the archives in my blog, The dougloid Papers.
UALPHLCS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 1673 times:
These are wonderful letters. As a historian I'm glad such precious documents exist in this age of email.
They remind me of what I condider the most beutiful letter ever written.
It was written on the eve of the Battle of Bull Run in 1861 by Sullivan Belou:
LETTER TO HIS WIFE (1961)
My very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days -- perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.
Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure -- and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing -- perfectly willing -- to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.
But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows -- when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children -- is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?
I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death -- and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee.
I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles I have often advocated before the people and "the name of honor that I love more than I fear death" have called upon me, and I have obeyed.
Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.
The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me -- perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar -- that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.
Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.
But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night -- amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours -- always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.
Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.
As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.
Fridgmus From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1442 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1645 times:
Thanks AirTran737, read them all.
I've been here in Iraq for over three years supporting our Brothers and Sisters in the War on Terror. And let me tell you, they are MAGNIFICENT!
And although our media won't show it, they've done so much good over here. Not just killin' bad guys, but building schools, clinics, providing medical care, helping Iraqi's rebuild their businesses, farms and infrastructure. And most importantly, teaching them about FREEDOM! The list goes on. I don't read about it, I don't hear about it, I see it with my own eyes. All of you should be proud of them.
Yes, there have been problems, big problems, but the good done here far outnumbers the bad.
And I go to all the Memorial Services. A lot in three years. I knew a few of them, but loved every single one of them, as only a brother GI could. All you ex-GI's know what I'm talking about.
The Lockheed Super Constellation, the REAL Queen of the Skies!
DavestanKSAN From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1678 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1627 times:
Honestly some of the most touching letters I've ever read. One of the hardest things I think I've read as well. I cannot put into words how grateful I am that there are people in this world such as those who have written these letters, as well as all those Serving for our freedom. I salute you all.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, God Bless.
Yesterday we've sinned, today we move towards God. Touch the sky....love and respect...Safe Star!
Lucky42 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1526 times:
Good job AirTran737,
You are right we all seem to hear the day by day death toll in Iraq and it is very easy to become numb to it all. I think it is the human bodies way of dealing with pain is to put your focus on something else and distance yourself from it. But I really feel for these families... I remember the wife of a soldier who was killed who slept along side his coffin with a marine standing guard all night. I guess a good example of selflessness was Pat Tillman. He did not need to join the military with a multi million dollar football career but he felt he needed to do what he felt was right and was killed by friendly fire of all things. A lot of people think he was an idiot for doing what he did, but it was in his heart to do it and I applaud him for it. Thanks for bringing it home to us who forget the sacrifices that are made on a daily basis...Welcome to my RU list