18 August, 2012

18 August 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
18 August, 1945      0915
Dearest darling Wilma –

Boy – this month’s tearing right along but it’s probably because so many fateful events have occurred this month. To all intents and purposes the summer has been over here since last week. The mornings and evenings are very chilly and when the sun does come out, it’s not very strong. They have a really cold winter here and I just hope I’m not around for all of it.

Yesterday p.m. – I was busy moving again, dear, – but this time only from one room to another. With the Colonel gone, the Major took over his apartment and George Thiessen, now executive officer, moved in with him. That left a nice room vacant and since I’m next in line in seniority, I took it. It’s a nice room with adjoining wash-room etc. Just think, though, darling – I’m actually 3rd ranking officer in a whole battalion – and still a captain. Well – it doesn’t make much difference now. Anyway – I’ve got the room all fixed up and it’s quite comfortable. In the evening we were going to go to the movies but ended up at the Red Cross having coffee – instead. Today, Saturday, is another half-day and I guess I’ll just rest and take it easy. We never did celebrate the end of the war and there doesn’t seem to be much point to it; but you never can tell what will develop on a Saturday night in this outfit.

By the way – today is 21 months and two days since we left New York Harbor. What a long grind it has been, but how nice to have behind you! Looks like we’ll certainly have at least 4 overseas bars on our left sleeve before we make it back, and yet we still see – in this town – outfits with six bars. One such outfit is the General Hospital here – the Second General. I don’t know why they haven’t gone home yet.

I didn’t receive any mail yesterday so I’d better catch up on some of the items you’ve mentioned in some of your previous letters, dear. About those pictures being brown – we never have the same place develop pictures, darling, and sometimes they just foul them up, that’s all. So far – I’ve been pretty lucky; that “car” in Leipzig – I didn’t know what it was either – but that was typical of the variety of vehicles to be seen in Germany today.

I was interested in your comments about work, the summer vacation, your plans for the Fall, etc. I honestly don’t know what to advise you, sweetheart. A course in nurses’ aide is difficult and particularly so at the B.C.H. [Boston City Hospital]. A good many women I know took it at Salem, including several doctors’ wives. As for your phobia about things medical, dear, particularly blood, I wouldn’t worry one bit about that. I see no reason why you’ll ever have to have much contact with it – although if I should have an office in conjunction with our home – as is the custom in Salem – I don’t know. It’s hard to advise you what to do from this vantage point. I know what I’ll do with you when I get home. I’m going to marry you, sweetheart, and I’m going to keep you busy loving you day and night. You won’t have much time for anything else – I promise you, dear. So you can think about that angle. I’ve been telling you on paper for a long time, now, darling, how much I love you. What a thrill to be able to show you. And the day draws nearer.

All for now, dear. Love to the folks and regards from Pete.

All my everlasting love and devotion –


about Another "My Day" by Eleanor Roosevelt

18 August 1945

NEW YORK, Friday — The last two days of holiday I have been privileged to spend in New York City. I use the word privileged advisedly, for it has been a privilege to see joy on so many faces.

I don't think I have ever seen so many young people walking hand in hand up and down our city streets. Many of the men are still in uniform, but as I sat in a bus the other afternoon a young couple got in, both looking radiant. The man was in a new civilian suit, wearing his honorable discharge button, and they were laughing and chatting together in the way that indicates, not the forced gaiety that accompanies a man on leave when war is on, but the complete, natural abandon of happy children. It was good to see. And on the same day I saw a mother greet her son who, for the first time in nearly five years, was dressed in civilian clothes. I knew she felt a great thankfulness, since during that time he had flown almost continuously on dangerous missions.

* * *

During a taxi ride, however, my driver seemed to be rather short of temper for such happy days. When a chance came I said: "This is a wonderful day; all of us must be happy!" He turned around and said: "It sure is. But I've still got a boy, a lieutenant in the air force, and I don't know yet if he is safe. I've got a son-in-law in the army and many nephews, so that there have been plenty of worries with us." The worries were evidently still uppermost, as they must remain for many, many people until we hear from the far ends of the world that V-J Day has really come on the islands in the Pacific and in the jungles of Burma.

Nevertheless, the atmosphere of our city has changed, and I am sure that is so of cities and villages all over the United States. The old troubles that accompany the daily round of living will be back with us all too soon. We will have to be reminding ourselves that the big trouble, the weight that has clamped on our hearts and kept our spirits down, has really been removed. We are not free from the accidents of death and disease and misfortune, and sorrow will be with us often, since that is the lot of man. But the war is over. We will not be engaged in the business of killing each other. Mass murder is ended, and we can rejoice.

* * *

On Sunday we will go to our respective churches, or sit at home and listen to our radio services, or perhaps just read our prayer books and speak with our hearts our thanksgiving to God that this terrible period in the history of mankind is past.

Now, we turn to the ways of peace, and coupled with our prayer of thanksgiving I hope there will be a prayer that each one of us may do his full share to bring about the change in mankind and the world that must come in this new atomic era if we are not to destroy humanity. We cannot say any more, "if" we have peace, or "will it be possible to keep peace," since we know that unless we have peace there is no future possible for mankind.
E. R.

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