It’s Veterans Day in the U.S., and Remembrance Day in the U.K. We send gratitude to all who serve, and served, to protect our freedoms. We also send our deepest appreciation to the families who love those veterans. You serve as well.
See those letters in the photo? Can you read the stamps?
They say: “Return to Sender””Missing”. The post dates are from December 1944 through February 1945. There’s an unread Valentine’s Card in there, and several letters with details about the busyness of a growing child.
These are letters that my grandmother sent to my grandfather in Europe during WWII. And these are the letters that came back to my grandmother marked as undeliverable.
What must it have felt like for a young wife with a toddler on her hip to pull one of those envelopes out of her mailbox?
On October 21, 1946, the Secretary of War wrote this,
My dear Mrs. Mannon:
The President has requested me to inform you that the Purple Heart has been awarded posthumously to your husband, Sergeant James B. Mannon, Air Corps, who sacrificed his life in defense of his country.
The medal, which you will receive shortly, is of slight intrinsic value, but rich with the tradition for which Americans have so gallantly given their lives. The Father of our Country, whose profile and coat of arms adorn the medal, speaks from it across the centuries to the men who fought for the proud freedom he founded.
Nothing the War Department can do or say will in any sense repair the loss of your loved one. He has gone, however, in honor and the goodly company of patriots. Let me, in communicating to you the country’s deep sympathy, also express to you its gratitude for his valor and devotion.
Robert P. Patterson
This story isn’t unique. Thousands of families, across all of our wars, have experienced this same sacrifice. You have them to thank for your freedom, your security, and your right to seek happiness.
My grandmother went on to own a business and make her way in the world as a single mother, at a time when women didn’t do that. She was fierce and feisty. ❤️ To everyone who served, at home or abroad, we owe you so much. 🙏 - 1 hour ago