Thursday, November 11, 2010

War and the written word

War made me. No, I'm not a veteran. But if it weren't for World War II and a handwritten letter I wouldn't be who I am. How does a young man from the dusty desert of West Texas met a young woman from Michigan's Great Lakes Bay region? Written on the camp's gold embossed stationery and dated in August of 1943:
Dear Miss Shirley,
Louis Sylvester told me about you so I thought I might write to you. I hope you don't mind.

She didn't.
They began to write back and forth. Beautiful letters that go from Miss Shirley to Shirley Darling. After he returned home from Europe, they got married and moved to Texas to start a family. They had three sons, the eldest would become a war veteran himself. That son would elope to Mexico with young redheaded woman before he shipped out to Vietnam. His daughter was born while he was in Southeast Asia. He came home when she was nine months old and they have been trying to make up for lost time ever since.

So I guess you could say two wars made me. I not only owe my freedom to veterans, I owe my life to two of them. My grandparents' love started with a letter. That love grounded me and gave me a touchstone in my life. I miss them everyday.

So this Veterans Day, thank a veteran and don't forget their loved ones either. It isn't easy being the loved one of someone serving their country. It takes great strength to serve and great strength to share the sacrifices of one who serves.

1 comment:

just me said...

Your grandparents would be proud of you, Chriss, I know I am.