Trumbull – A Birthday Letter to Dave (2) – Grandpa’s Advice – September, 1945

There is just one other thought that I want to get out of my system. Since your last letter I have been thinking of Sgt. Hamm and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m sorry for him. Some folks are so built that they have to learn things the hard way. (Remember that icy morning in the car when Dick was driving and I warned him he had better go slower and we hit a tree at Beardsley Park, and later Dick had the moral courage or sense of failure or good sportsmanship or whatever you want to call it that is typical of Dick, to own up he been wrong?) The Sgt., I warrant, has learned a bitter lesson. He would give anything to have a chance to live that moment over again. How do you think he feels inside? How would you feel if you had impulsively done a foolish thing with so fatal a result? Maybe he, too, saw the Christmas tree photo. What do you suppose his thoughts are when he is alone or when he sees you or Bernie’s other buddies looking at him? His own conscience is far worse a hell than anything you can say or do to make him feel his guilt. You say you’ll never forgive him. I know you don’t mean that as it sounds. Right now he needs a friend more than you need the satisfaction of knowing the mental agony he’s going through, no matter how bold a face he may put on for the benefit of his pride. Isn’t this a good place to apply the Golden Rule? We all make mistakes – – some, like this one, are irrevocable and carry a lifetime of regret. That’s punishment enough, don’t you think? Let’s be tolerant. You can’t bring the dead back but you can extend a helping hand to the living. He’ll never need understanding or forgiveness more than he does right now. Right?

Well, things look increasingly better for you to be getting home much earlier than the Christmas of 1946 that you have set as the deadline. It’s too much to expect you home for this Christmas, but who knows but what you may see the lilacs blossoming this spring. Anyway, we can hope. There was no letter from you last week but you’ve been so good about writing that this doesn’t bother me.

As for your letter putting in very convincing terms reasons why you boys should be sent home soon, this idea has made so much progress nationwide, since you wrote, that it almost seems superfluous to send it. The enclosed newspaper clippings day by day will give you the way we at home here feel about it. I read the other day that so many letters similar to yours had been received that a special department in the war office had been established for the sole purpose of opening and reading letters to Congressman on this subject. Perhaps it will be better to wait a few weeks to see what comes out of this, and then, if more fuel is needed for the fire, you can send your letter on then when it will perhaps have even more effect than it would now when so many others dilute the force of one more.

Well, happy birthday, old son, keep well and come home soon to

Your affectionate,

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll be posting letters written in 

Next week, I’ll be posting some letters from 1941. I’ll also have a special treat on Thursday, June 1st.

Judy Guion

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