Veterans Day


Yes, I’m a day early, but the house is quiet, I have a cup of coffee, and there’s some time to write this. I’ll leave tomorrow to the real veteran bloggers.

Maybe this should really be a Memorial Day post, but I don’t feel like waiting that long to share this.

My father-in-law is living with us for a while. Getting the house ready for him made me face the stack of boxes that have been piling up since my mother died three years ago. Every time I visited my dad, he had a few more boxes for me (much to Mr. RFH’s chagrin). Sometimes it was household items, sometimes it was papers. I didn’t want to deal with it, so I put it off until I really couldn’t put it off any longer.

Mom was something of a packrat, so there were artwork, report cards, handmade Mother’s Day cards, essays (I can see why I got C’s in handwriting), family genealogy charts, etc. It was really tempting to just toss a box of papers without going through it. Until this:

That’s Mom’s oldest sister and oldest brother, probably right before he left for Europe. He never came home.

Then this:

Fairview, W. Va.
10-21-45
Dear Miss Owen:
It is with deepest regret that I write you this letter. I was with Carl from the time we left Fort Meade, Md., until the night of Aug. 1, 1944. We were in the third squad of the third platoon of Company C. Second Bn. 115th Inf. Regt. 29th Div. He was my assistant gunner on a bazooka. It was in the Normandy campaign. We were 5 miles south and east of Herman France that it occured. We were in position on top of a hill when it was discovered we were trapped. Our position (Carl and myself’s unit) was the west side of the hill (our rear) a tank coming up the hill towing an A.A. gun, 40 MM. We opened fire on it and had return fire from the towed gun of the Germans. It was the third shot. The shell hit a small stump to our left, it exploded killing Carl instantly and wounding me. His death was as he would have wished, in the defence of his country and the ideals for which it stands. I lost my address when I was hit or I would have written sooner to you to inform you as was our plans to do in case something like this happened. It happened at 10:20 P.M. and was just beginning to get dark.
I hope this will help you a little. Please do not worry as I know Carl would not wish [page 2] you to do so. If I can be of any help in any at any time please let me know. If you think of any thing you would like to know concerning Carl write me and I will try to clear up the matter for you.
Sincerely yours,
Joe Owens

Wow. That says something about both men, that one would take the time to write the family of the other.

So I leave you with that this Veterans Day weekend, to remember those that came home and those that didn’t. A few words of gratitude seem pretty inadequate, but thank you for your service.

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3 Comments

Filed under army, history, Personal, war

3 responses to “Veterans Day

  1. ultimaratioregis

    Roamy,

    Thank you. It is a very sad letter, soulfully sad. One of hundreds of thousands that American families received. We always should remember that.
    Yes, it is a lot of work to go through it all, but you have to. There are priceless things in those boxes that you have to preserve. They are a part of who you and your siblings are, and also who your children are. Those treasures are also evocative of a different age, a different world. So please, make the effort. You will be glad you did.

  2. So much sadness in that letter, and yet there was love, too.