12 October, 2011

12 Octboer 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
12 October, 1944        1415
Dearest sweetheart,

I guess I can’t be so very old if I can still remember when the 12th of October was a Holiday. But nowadays it’s not much of a day at home or here; maybe the boys in Italy have the day off.

Last night, dear, I wrote you a V-mail and explained to you that we were in a new location. Things are a bit more settled today and we’re relaxing again. As a matter of fact, darling, I’ve had a pretty busy practice since last night – a private practice This is a small village we’re in and without a doctor. The M.D. from the next town has fled with the Nazis, so these people are rather hard put. All of them, of course, state they were not Nazis, hated Hitler and that they’re glad the Germans have lost the war; all of them are liars – as far as I’m concerned, and as someone or other said recently, I’m not forgetting the fact that it was not Hitler who gave us the Germans, but the Germans who gave us Hitler.

Apparently our military government is being very careful, because all soldiers have been warned that they will be fined if they are found even speaking to a Civilian. As far as I’m concerned – when someone is sick I take care of him or her, regardless. I certainly have little love for these people who – if they weren’t strong Nazis – at least passively acquiesced to Hitler and his policy.

I saw one man with a bad strep throat whose wife was afraid he had diphtheria – there having been some in the vicinity. He doesn’t have it and is already a bit better after one night’s Sulfathiazol etc.; another call was to see a girl of 14 and she has LaGrippe or the flu; and finally I saw a woman of 47 who is having her menopause and suffers from a migraine-like headache. I think I have something to help her.

Say, that reminds me, I never did get around to expressing my views on night-gowns, night-shirts – and all points South. The fact is I have never thought very much about the subject, but I see now that I’ll have to one of these days. I rather think, darling, that I’ll be kind of easy to persuade, whatever your final decision is.

In your letter of the 26th September, dear, you tell me of reading all my letters from 1 June to the present and ending up with a crying jag. I’m sorry, Sweetheart, for that – but a good cry now and then never did any woman any harm. I remember writing you often – not to worry. I haven’t written that recently, if I can remember correctly – because I realize it’s natural to worry anyway, and that if I write for you not to worry, you’ll think it’s because there is really something to worry about. I’m glad about one thing, though, in my letters; I got you to admit you got a complete picture of my activities and thoughts. That’s what I’ve been trying to do always, sweetheart. And you don’t have to wonder whether you are always in my mind; you are, darling – as no one or nothing ever has been before. And if I ever needed anything to keep me going and keep me from complaining about all this – I found that in you, dear. Your love and mine for you has made all the difference in the world; I can’t tell you that too often –

I was glad to read that Stan had called to say ‘Hello’ and hadn’t lost his vim and vigor. Your letter was written on the 26th and he was to be married on the 30th – so I assume this was a last minute visit home to take care of final arrangements. I got a real laugh out of your story about the E.T.O. ribbon and that reminds me, I was going to mention it at the dinner table this noon and forgot. From what I read of the soldiers’ mail when I censor letters, I can believe it; some of our men just love to color up things for the folks at home and this must have been such a case. That particular ribbon, by the way, was the object of many jokes while we were in England. The English for one thing, couldn’t see why the Americans got a ribbon for just coming to England. It did seem funny, but the fact is – we wear the same ribbon for the entire European campaign. Mine – as well as thousands of others – will be garnished with a couple of stars, anyway, each star representing a campaign. I imagine there will be one for the Battle of France and one for the Battle of Germany. In the last war they gave such stars for battles like the one at Château-Thierry or the Meuse-Argonne, or the Battle of the Marne – etc. Incidentally I passed all through the above-mentioned areas in one day. And before I forget it – the enclosed are a few post-cards I collected since landing in France. We are now allowed to send them home, minus writing or dates – and so long as they don’t have a particular sequence. But save them, darling, and I’ll tell you a little story about each – after the war. I almost forgot – the only name we use for the ETO ribbon is Spam-Ribbon – the name originating in England.

Well, my sweetheart, I’ll stop now. Keep on loving me and wanting me – as I do you – and regardless of all forecasts and discouraging notes from any source – we’ll just keep on this way, knowing that some day we’re bound to have each other the way we’ve wanted it for so long. And this will be but a memory – to push aside and recall only when we reminisce about the way we grew to love each other even though we were apart. My love to the folks, sweetheart and

My everlasting love
Greg.

* TIDBIT *

about Hahn, Germany

Hahn - View from the East in 2007

According to Wikipedia, Hahn is a municipality belonging to a kind of collective – in the Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis District in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde of Kirchberg, whose seat is in the town of Kirchberg. At the end of 2010, 165 people lived in Hahn's 2 square miles. The municipality lies on a ridge in the part of the Hunsrück facing the Moselle River on the watershed between the Nahe River and the Moselle, and also on the Hunsrückhöhenstraße (“Hunsrück Heights Road”), a scenic road built originally as a military road on Hermann Göring’s orders, across the Hunsrück mountain range.

The Moselle Valley separates
the Eifel (farther) and Hunsrück (closer) Ranges

Within Hahn’s municipal limits are traces of Roman and Frankish settlements. References to Hahn date back to 1120. Beginning in 1794 it lay under French rule. In 1815 it was assigned to the Kingdom of Prussia at the Congress of Vienna. Since 1946, it has been part of the then newly founded state of Rhineland-Palatinate. After the Second World War, a United States Air Force NATO air base was built on parts of the municipal area. This was converted for civil aviation in 1993 after the United States withdrew from the base. Although it is 75 miles from Frankfurt, it is nonetheless called "Frankfurt-Hahn Airport," causing consternation to many.

The building worthiest of note in Hahn is the little village church. Saint Anthony’s Simultaneous Church, with a tower that looks rather like a defensive structure, dates to some time between 1350 and 1370. The nave and quire date from 1470. Two bronze bells come from 1489, according to the inscription (one bell was recast because it had cracked). In a 1508 document, the church is called a “rectorate at Hahn”. Since 17 May 1689 the church has been a "simultaneous church," used by both Catholics and Evangelicals. Each faith owns half of the church, and separate services are held at predetermined times. St. Anthony's is the second oldest simultaneous church in the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland.

Saint Anthony's Simultaneous Church in 2007
Hahn, Germany

Simultaneous churches were built in many municipalities in the Palatinate. So many of them were later abolished in the course of industrialization between 1880 and 1910 that the smaller denomination in each case built its own church. In the little village of Hahn, however, there was no need. On the information display board before the church, there is a reference to the Gospel According to John: Damit sie alle eins seien – “That they all may be one” (John 17:21).

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