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November 11, Veterans Day, is a day set asdie to honor those men and women who at some point during their lifetime went to war for their country and returned. At this point in our nation's history, exactly two months after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, this Veterans Day, 2001, commands our attention. It reminds us of the sacrifices made by those who have gone to wars past, but also of those who have fought and will fight in this present war of a different kind: those firefighters, policemen, and rescue workers who have fought against the fire, the smoke, and the rubble, and who have lost their very own in the process; those servicemen, who have left their homes and their families to go to untold destinations to participate in a war unlike any that has ever been fought by our country; those families who lost loved ones in the September 11 attack, who must fight against their anger and their sorrow and rally behind their country. Americans are at their most patriotic during t hese terrible events because we know that united we will stand. No amount of patriotism of honor or respect can bring back those whom we lost in this horrific act of terrorism, but it can rally us behind those who will fight for our nation now and in the days yet to come. It is only fitting, then, that we look back to the heroes of war who returned long ago to live, work, and play, but never to forget their time of service. Some of them are still with us; some have passed on, but each has a place in our history.

Mississippi's veterans and their families have graciously shared with us letters from past wars. Some of these letters have been handed down from generation to generation, while some have not been given much though in many years. The response was so overwhelming to our request for these letters that we could not possibly print them all, but the words from these young men to their families while they were serving our country inspire patriotism and honor in their highest forms. We have selected passages from these letters to accompany a collection of photographs, taken at the site that reminds us of the war fought on our own soil, Battlefield Military Park in Vicksburg. May this tribute to our state's as well as our nation's veterans make us all mindful and appreciative of sacrifices made for us in the name of freedom.

All letters have been reproduction in part only, and spelling and capitalization have been preserved for lauthenticity.

May 26, 1918

Dear homefolks,

Well how are the folks at home doing tonight?...The first battle I saw was fought in the air immediately over my head at midnight. There were several planes on both sides, and tho the planes were very high they made an awful noise with all their guns going full blast two of the planes were brought down and burned up lighting up the whole country around...I guess all you folks back home are having a good time as 'tis springtime now and there are always lots f things for amusement there in the summertime...Write me often and all the news. With love to everyone in the family.

From Pvt. Curtis Wise to his family in Monroe County during his service in World War I Submitted by Curtis Wise's son, William G. Wise

December 18, 1864? (Date is unclear)

Dear son I promised to write you a letter and I now take the [opportunity] of doing so and if I should never see you again I wish you to keepe this letter and you and your brother keep the instructions I now give kind to your brothers and sisters and obey the instructi9on of your Mother do not keep company with bad boys do no mischief and you will not get in to trouble but have the goodwill of all be industrious learn your book and be wise and good be honest and just in all your dealings...I hope it may pleas god to spare my life and enable me to you. Your affectionable Father,

James A. Wilson

From James A. Wilson to his son, from his post during the War Between the States Submitted by Mrs. Rome A. Emmons, Jr., whose mother was a Wilson

August 30, 1943

My Darling Teddy.

Hello there, Sweetheart--how's my girl? I'm still hanging on.

It's quite late and I'm writing by a candle. Gosh, but it's a nice night. The weather is just right. I can see our star and some how now you don't seem so very far away. Oh, how I hope and pray the day may come soon that we may find each other again.

...Only you, Teddy, are as real to me now as you were then. That's the way it shall always be. When I found you I found true love and that can never change no matter what I knew I loved you then but only now am I beginning to realize how much.

...It's very late now so your lil soldier must try to sleep as tomorrow--who knows what it may bring?

Be a good lil girl now, Teddy, and don't run off and joint the Waves, will you, huh?

Bye for now, Darling.

From H.R. Scott from his station in North Africa to his future wife, Teddy Bonham, in Natchez Submitted by their daughter, Kathleen Scott

March 21, 1952

Dear Folks,

I have been at sea 7 days...I haven't gotten sea sick yet, but boy plenty others were. It is pretty cold here, snow and sleet all the time. Be glad when we head south again. Am doing fine.

To Mr. and Mrs. O.L. McDaniel, from their son, Curtis E. McDaniel during his time of service in the Korean War

May 9, 1945

...Yesterday and the day before it rained a terrible rain Just like those mid-winter ones at home but this morning it was fair and today has been perfect... if you look around at the beauty of this place there is quite a bit woods green all the time I suppose, maintains, valleys, etc. It is such a pity that there is the war over here. No doubt this was a pretty place before it was hit.

From Bernard Walton to his family when he was stationed in Okinawa during World War II Submitted by Johnny Walton, nephew of Bernard Walton

May 20, 1945

...His courage and leadership were the leading factors that enabled A Co. to take their objective that day and Mainz the next, opening the way for the last push through Germany...He was looked upon by his men as a good s soldier, a gentleman, and above all a "good fellow." His loss to me personally has left a blank place that will never be filled. His sacrifice was certainly not in vain, and I am proud to say that I was able to be around him for these few months and was counted as one of his friends.

From Billy Roberds to William Lloyd Williamson, Sr., after the death of Mr. Williamson's son in Germany during World War II

Submitted by Johnny Walton of Pascagoula, nephew of William Lloyd Williamson, Sr.

September 1862

Dear Mother,

I again under take the task of writing to you and truly it is a task to write what I have to write this time it is truly painful to me to say that your son is no more yes, Mother, it is true he died just at sun down the eleventh day of this month at Saltillo in a tent.

...O Mother, you cant immagin my feelings when I was left alone so fur from home among a world of men as it seamed to me for there was nothing but the white tents and men to be seen as far as I could see.

...he got very happy on Monday night before he died on Thursday he tried to sing several hymns, one of them was jesus, I lay in my Happy Home. He wrote me some of as pretty letters as I ever read, and [in] nearly ever letter he asked me to pray for him. must all write to me now for that will be my greatest pleasure now is to hear from all of you and especially you and father...good bye for this time, dear Mother,


To Clarissa Cox Neaves in Jefferson County, Alabama, from her daughter-in-law Eliza Jane Massey Neaves, after the death of Eliza's husband Jacob during the War Between time States

This letter was taken from The Neaves Story and submitted by Curtis E. McDaniel, great grand nephew of Eliza Neaves.
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Title Annotation:letters written by soldiers to their families in wartime
Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Previous Article:The Rio del Espiritu Santo.
Next Article:Ever Green.

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