I have had some old letters on my mind today. For some reason, I can't get them off my mind. I discovered them years ago when I closed the estate of an aunt in Virginia. Among the possessions were a number of daily spiritual readers. Inside the front and back covers of the books were letters that she had written to her son who was killed in action in France on September 13, 1944.
I am not a fan of war. I hope that there will not be any more wars. I want to remember the brave people who fought for us, but also to remember the tragedies of history so as not to repeat them. So I've copied down excerpts from her letters here to remind me of the sacrifice and the tragedy of war.
It is April 28, 1945. I am visiting in a place of beautiful lakes, stately oaks and glorious flowers of all kinds that bedeck the sidewalks and gardens. The gray moss waves in the branches of the trees and glistens like silver making a picture so real that I marvel at the power of nature and God's wisdom in creating a world so restful and artistic.
I came here two months ago. Like many other mothers the world over, I had received a message: "The War Department Regrets." This message changed the whole course of your life, and a world of happiness becomes sadness and grief. How foolish to run from sorrow. Your loss, dear son, is so much apart of me, there is no escape.
It has been said "We die the death inherent in our lives." We get the kind of death that our nature's attract. The brave die adventurously. You knew no fear and loved adventure. Your bravery was so fully proven in facing death.
God help me to accept with uncomplaining grace my heart breaking sorrow, and to carry on until such time, when I am called to sleep the sleep from which we wake no more. And I pray, I will be worthy of meeting you son, who did and gave so much that my remaining years be spent in a land of peace. Until we meet my dear, rest in peace.
Monday afternoon, October 22, 1945
A lieutenant buddy of yours came to see me today. He had just returned from France. He was with you when you were wounded and spoke with you before you passed on.
He said you gave your life that many men could be saved. He pictured you as a hero, loved by all and a true friend to the end. I was so glad that he came for it seemed like a message from the beyond saying "Mother, chin up. I won't be back, I'm just away."
God bless you, my child.
Letter to my son May 13, 1945
A day to remember son. It's Mother's Day. A day of prayer of victory in Europe. Eight months ago today you gave your young life paving the way, making this victory come true.
There will be no roses for me today. No message resting in the scented box saying "I love you Mother" for the boy who never forgot to remember isn't here any more.
But dear I feel you know that the memories of those days are so alive and real that I will relive them so completely, that when the sun rests tonight in the west, it will be almost as if you were here.
April 28, 1946
Tonight it came over the radio that the war in the West was over. You dear will never know what a battle I fought. I have to be happy for other mothers more fortunate than I. I went out and took a walk with the little dog.
There came over me a peace in the thought that you when in a football game, never cared how you came out as long as your team won. Well, your team is winning now. You paid an awful price my dear, but knowing you as I do, I know you would not think that price too high for complete victory. I feel you must know when your team will reach the goal line, and your spirit will be there when the score is read the world over.
And in the overleaf of the book where she wrote these letters, here is her hope:
"If ever you are burdened down
By the loss of those you love.
Just take this book, and turn the page
Meditate and think.
The consolation you'll obtain will give you strength and peace again.
In helping others, we forget
The cross we have to bear.
And trusting God to guide our steps,
We enter heaven by prayer. "
Amen to that.