1945 — Letter excerpts

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 14, 2013

Here are direct quotes taken from Army Lt. Alvin Anderson’s letters to his wife, Faye, as he waited out the end of the war in France.

Jan. 2, 1945 — “Darling, you know it is a strange feeling to have a son and not know what his name is even.”

Jan. 4, 1945 — “I am always thinking of the boys at the front when it is bad weather. I know how they feel.”

Jan. 13, 1945 — “Once this war is over it will seem like a bad dream.”

Jan. 20, 1945, remembering their first kiss — “You always tried to get in the house before I had a chance to kiss you good night, but that time I caught you. Remember?”

Jan. 21, 1945 — “I’m going to church every little chance I get from now on.”

Jan. 31, 1945 — “Every month that goes by we are $112 closer to that house we are going to have one of these days.”

Feb. 3, 1945 — “I want no part of any country I have been. There is no people or no land like ours.”

Feb. 5, 1945 — “Now we have our son. He is a fine little fellow. I’ll miss all the little things he does and that I could help you do for him.”

Feb. 5, 1945 — “There is no other branch of the service that equals the infantry. We are the people who have to suffer in war. We sleep in mud. We are the filthiest people in the war when we are fighting. Our lives or how long we live depends on our ability, skill and mental alertness. There is no prouder man than an infantryman who has destroyed the enemy who faces him.”

Feb. 5, 1945 — “I may be a fool, but this is hard. I know I am not qualified physically to do the job. They sent me here, and I did a good job. If they want to transfer me or reclassify me, I guess they will be doing their job. I don’t want to go through with it, but I will. I’ll still be proud of my 21/2 months on the front.”

Feb. 13, 1945 — “I would like to meet face-to-face with a nice pork sausage about a foot long with lots of grits and biscuits. Yum! Yum!”

March 8, 1945 — “I am now a rear echelon guy. I can’t say that I like that. You know me. I never like to play on anyone’s second team. At least my insurance rate will go down.”

March 8, 1945 — “God knows when I’ll ever get home. We will just have to go on existing and saving every penny we can so we can have a little when I do get home.”

March 14, 1945 — “I can just close my eyes and see a thousand visions of you.”

March 24, 1945 — “Judging myself by the greater percentage of officers over here, I am proud of my conduct. Some of these people and perhaps most of them don’t seem to regard marriage as an obligation, responsibility and something sacred. I can’t see it for the life of me.”

April 4, 1945 — “I know you and Stanley will help me forget some of the horrible things I have seen. But it is impossible for anyone on earth to forget all of them.”

April 11, 1945 — “You said you could just imagine what I had been through. No, you can’t. No one can. Darling, that is all just one bad dream. And what a dream! I knew you were with me always.

“I can remember so many times when things were real tough. I’d take out the little green folder and look at your picture. I always fought it with the all of me, but it sometimes entered my mind: Would I ever see you again? Would I ever know when Stan came? And a million other things I thought about. I don’t know whether I told you or not, but at the same time I left Co. K, there were only 21 of the company left. Some odds, a?”

April 12, 1945 — “If the Russians will just put on a big drive now, I think that will end it all.”

April 14, 1945 — “Darling, isn’t it bad that we have to lose such a great man as President Roosevelt at a time like this? I feel like the man, my friend, is not there now. He no doubt is the greatest president the U.S. ever had. It is strange how much we miss him already.”

April 20, 1945 — I’ve been a first lieutenant so long till I am sorta ashamed of myself.”

April 23, 1945, on reports and pictures of Nazi atrocities and mass murders — “That is all very true. I didn’t believe it till I saw it with my own eyes. No civilized person could be that cruel. Then when I think how near they came to having me in one of those prisons, it makes cold chills run up my spine. I just thank God I escaped. But there were so many in my company who were less fortunate.”

April 27, 1945 — “The news is good now. I can’t see for the life of me what keeps these people fighting.”

May 4, 1945 — “Darling, I think this war may be over when you get this letter.”

May 10, 1945 — “It is simply grand that the war is over in Europe. Most everybody here has been celebrating for the last couple of days. … Paris is beautiful. The lights are on now. I never realized the city was so beautiful. I never knew there were so many people living here, either.”

May 22, 1945 — “Never again, if it is humanly possible, will we be apart. I will take you and Stan with me wherever I go. Life is too short for us to be apart anymore.”

May 29, 1945 — “I don’t think I will miss the Army but a short while after I get back to the States. You know my physical profile — the way they have it is below induction standards. That means they won’t keep me too long.”

May 31, 1945 — “Maybe I will see him (Stanley) before he can say ‘Daddy’”

June 3, 1945 — “I always think of how Lt. Thomas, Cook and I use to pool our packages and have a feast once in a while. I just can’t get over Lt. Thomas being killed. Seems like it is harder for me to realize that about him than anyone else. He sure was a fine fellow.”

June 6, 1945, on the one-year anniversary of D-Day — “I am almost convinced that I wouldn’t be living today if it hadn’t been for you and Stan. You were always on my mind, and I would never allow myself to get careless.”

June 10, 1945, on feeling sorry for his friend, Lt. Metz, who has a 19-month-old son he has never seen — “He has been wounded four or five times. The last time was pretty bad. A machine gun hit him right across the groin. It shot away one of his testicles. I had the same thing happen to one of my sergeants at the front. Also, it happened to Lt. France, a friend of mine who came to Paris with me.”

Aug. 9, 1945 — “Darling, that sure is some bomb the U.S. has released on Japan, isn’t it. It will end the war quicker, but Man is just getting too smart when he starts fooling with the elements of the universe. That, in my opinion, is tampering with God’s creations, which shouldn’t be done. It is entirely possible now for man to destroy himself completely.”

Sept. 14, 1945 — Darling, I have only had the dates changed on my orders to go home about five times. It was first the 17th, then 19th, then 15th and AG Personnel called me this afternoon and said 17th.

“… I just can’t hardly believe that I am practically on my way home. It is too good to be true. Time sure will pass slow now, but I can sweat it out.”

­— Compiled by Mark Wineka