D-day: What It Cost

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… Are the kids at home starting to play baseball yet? It is in the air over here but the major league warmups lack the color and punch of former years. Will the day ever return when I can come home to you and expect you to furnish the scores of all the games played that day. … James Cagney was in person here last night and the place was jammed so I didn’t bother to go see him, however a couple of guys from this outfit went in through the stage door claiming that Jimmy and they were boyhood buddies from 96th St. in New York. Some 2nd Looey let them in on the weight of this tale so you can see what the boys think of a Lieutenant’s gullibility. …

All my love, Frank

March 29, 1944

Dearest Polly,

I don’t know how to say thank you for your extravagance and generosity. You worked for a good month as a school teacher and then you send me money. Well I have myself to blame. I could hardly blame you for interpreting my expression of my gambling losses as a request for money. You lovely adorable imp. Didn’t I tell you before that I’m merely existing over here in anticipation of my life’s beginning with you? Darling I love you sincerely with more overwhelming power than the ordinary heart could endure. Ours is the perfect formula for love everlasting. Nothing of the world could rise to separate us from each other. Darling we fit like the last piece of the puzzle. Please don’t send me any more money. I’m the guy who is supposed to be the provider and you make me feel cheap and at the same time cause a surge of love and understanding and a meekness. …

Frank

It gives me a sort of a moral boost. Writing it, looking at it, and reflecting on the powerful meaning of that word “united” is good for a person.

March 30, 1944

Hi Hon,

Somehow when I write out the ‘United States of America’ it gives me a sort of a moral boost. Writing it, looking at it, and reflecting on the powerful meaning of that word ‘united’ is good for a person. The immediate reflection and knowledge that it is no trite symbol and that these 48 are really one with one common purpose is some gigantic thought to encompass. Compare the continent of North America with its 175 million odd and see what other continent is so singular in purpose. Australia, mebbe! but then it is a midget—Europe, Asia, Africa and even the presently peaceful continent South of us is disrupted with powers and claimants to power, with rulers and claimants thereof. It seems that the word ‘united’ should be the one reassuring, encouraging word, the word that must cause the defeatist and skeptic some worried moments. Class dismissed—

I love you, Frank

April 3, 1944

Dear Polly,

No doubt you have often heard of the army-bred expression “goldbrick,” and I suppose you would like to know just what are my impressions of this ancient and honorable method of avoiding strenuous labors. In a tank outfit such as the one I am in there are three types of labor 1) tank maintenance work of a type calling for crew cooperation, 2) company group labor or such things as calisthenics and road marches, 3) classes on pertinent subjects taught by the company officers, or mental anguish. Any person who avoids participation in group number one is an out and out bum and never will work in his life, he is a poor crew man and not the type to be relied on in the event of battle. The type who avoids category two are a wily breed and cause the poor greying first sergeant no end of worries. They are the most difficult to detect because they usually have a legitimate excuse for their absence. … The third element is made up of a group definitely possessing class. No crude stock excuse is good enough for them. In their subtleties they delve deep into fantasy and come up with something that would do credit to Jules Verne. The person in authority who dares question them as to the reasons for their absence is subjected to first, a sneer of disdain, second, an impenetrable attitude of indifference and lastly, they become audience to a dissertation on the circumstances that caused the class in question to be missed. So lengthy is the oral thesis that the interrogator is only too glad to forget about the whole thing and let you off with a warning. I look for a manpower shortage after this even more intense than the one that now exists but I also expect to see a boom in the market of fantastic mystery stories. …

I love you, Frank

April 9, 1944

Dearest,

Honey, did you ever see a football game? Well the players on the various teams wear sweaters on which are printed numbers. The sweaters are various colors—the texture of the sweater differs from that of a knot wool. I thought that perhaps I still had a few remaining from the day when I played ball and that they could be sent to me here. I know that I described it as gold with blue numerals but I never thought you would take it to mean my fresh- man numerals which I gave to you anyhow and which is yours darling, not mine. If it is too late I will (as soon as they arrive) send them back. The green sweater I will keep and wear—but even in the case of the green sweater I meant the practice jerseys we wore at John Carroll. It’s a mere technicality and I can’t blame you for making such a mistake. —

I love you, Frank

April 11, 1944

Dear Polly,