04 July, 2011

04 July, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 403 % Postmaster, N.Y.
France
4 July, 1944 0945

My darling –

On this holiday – I wonder where you are and what you’re doing. Whatever it is – I hope you’re enjoying yourself, dear. This is one of the few days since arriving in France that the date has had any significance for us. The fact is – all days are noisy. I can think of the times when I jumped at the noise of a two-inch firecracker – and now – well the less said the better. Anyway – we’ll try to have a sane and safe 4th. The French – you remember – celebrate the 14th of July, their Bastille Day.

Another date that I remembered was yesterday’s. On July 3, 1942 I reported for active duty. Boy! Was I green! After the war, sweetheart, I’ll give you my impressions of my first few days in the Army. It was really funny. I didn’t know then how long I’d be in the service – but I sure am glad those two years are behind me. By any sort of reasoning or prognostication – more is behind me than ahead of me, and that thought, darling is very soothing.

Let’s see – this is Tuesday, I think, and if so – it must have been difficult to make a long week-end out of the Holiday, although I suppose some people were able to take Monday off. Last night at supper we got to thinking and talking about the night before the 4th in the old days – and each fellow had a slightly different version of what it was like in his city; represented were Buffalo, York Pa, Brooklyn, Portland Me, Chicago, Phila, Davenport Iowa, and Portsmouth N.H. I took care of Boston. You can see that an interesting discussion took place. All agreed however that we’d probably awaken today with clearer heads – and we did.


Awakening in the morning these days, darling, is different than it ever was before. For my own part, I feel very humble and thankful for another day, and although I don’t actually say a prayer in the morning in so many words – I do so in my mind. Nights can be hell around here for half a dozen reasons that I won’t go into – and as I said, on awakening, I – at least – feel thankful. A fellow gets to lean heavily on a prayer and the thought of a Protecting God out here. I feel glad that I’m not being hypocritical in this feeling, because in the past I have always felt the same – albeit more independently.

Darling – don’t misinterpret all of the above to mean that I’m under constant fire or anything like that. But we do hear guns go off in the distance, sometimes, as well as our own guns – and when you haven’t had quite enough sleep of a nite – you begin to think that every gun of the evening is trained just at you – and whether it is or it isn’t – you can be just as thankful in your mind for being alive.

I know I haven’t written like this before and I don’t expect I will very often, sweetheart, but it would be very idiotic of me not to have received some impressions of this whole thing, and I know I can transmit my impressions to you without making you unduly alarmed. I have not been in danger, dear, and I don’t think I will be. What I’ve described to you is just some of my inner thoughts and reactions on realizing that I’m in a war area.

There was no mail yesterday – but we have good reason to believe that there’ll be some today – and I’ll surely hear from you, dear. If your letters were ever dear to me before, you have no idea of what they mean to me here. They link me with you so inextricably that I forget about time and distance and by the time I’m through reading one of your letters I find myself projected back to Boston or Newton – or in fact – to wherever you happen to be writing about. It is good tonic, sweetheart!

Well, dear, I’ve got a few things to take care of. Our jeep ‘Wilma’ is always around and I see and say your name a hundred times a day. I hope you’re well, dear, and enjoying your work – although Boston must be hot these days. My love to the folks. So long for now – and

All my love
Greg

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