The love letters from my grandfather were in three and four inch piles, each pile tied perfectly with both a red and white ribbon and they looked like they hadn’t ever been disturbed, so do I untie knots my grandmother made almost one hundred years ago? The letters are written through the First World War – I can hardly touch them, but have to … they were saved by my grandmother for posterity.
Every letter carried the message of the pain of separation, the postponement of personal lives and dedication to cause. Day by day they have no idea what is going on with their future, or the future of the world that was changing radically. They’re waiting to tell his parents that they’re engaged, but it’s three years before they’re married!
He writes at least once a day, sometimes picking up the letter three times during the day to give her more news in small, tight handwriting that I’m grateful to be able to read easily. The urge to communicate with one’s love didn’t start with the computer generation!
Some men are injured and die in battle – most come home with psychological scars, but each man sacrificed precious days, months and years of their one and only life. We can never thank you enough for giving us the freedom we enjoy today; may we never abuse it.
There are two war accounts, The Battle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and The Battle of the Atlantic that are interesting online reads. The St. Lawrence account is especially unnerving – it describes German boats in our North American waters, and how they sank many Canadian boats. I’d never heard a thing about it before!
As I stood with my family at the beautiful Remembrance Day ceremony (Veteran’s Day in the USA) today, I remembered so many accounts of really awful battles during the First World War … that my father-in-law had been at Iwo Jima with the Marines, my U.S. Army father landed on several fronts with General Patton and so many men are fighting for us today … I was again humbled by their sacrifice and am so grateful to live in freedom.