April 14, 1945

Okinawa Shima 

Ryukyu Islands

14 April 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

Just a while ago I received your letter of March 17th. You had just received my letter telling you of my orders to report to the 24th Corps. I’m still missing a lot of your letters, but I suppose they will be stringing in here for sometime yet. I got up early this morning and read all your letters over again. They are certainly a blessing and help me. I will probably read them over several more times.

Soldiers in a foxhole on Okinawa.

Early this morning I went to the hospital to see the men. I always enjoy such work, if possible I always stop and talk to them. Some Japanese artillery came over this morning and injured several of our men. With air raids and artillery it keeps you on the watch for foxholes, ditches or anything to protect you from flying debris or shell fragments. Last night when the enemy opened up there were six of us jumped in the same hole. Normally it would have accommodated two men comfortably. I’m telling you, we hit that foxhole in nothing flat. We were almost like scrambled eggs, but it was at least protection until the barrage was over. A hole 2 feet deep is pretty good protection unless it should happen to be a direct hit. The real danger from artillery is the descending shell fragments from anti-aircraft fire because there is no protection above you in a hole. It will certainly be a pleasure to be walking or riding around and not have to run for cover. While riding around in vehicles, you have to be careful of landmines. We were up near the front this morning and the Japanese started shelling one of our areas. Fortunately, the first shell was off to our right about 100 yards and we were able to get cover before they could zero in their guns. They dropped several rounds of artillery all around us, but thank the Lord not a single man was hit. However, it did do some damage to our equipment. If we hadn’t been able to get cover some of us might have been hurt. I checked up on some of the men who have been killed so I can write to their next of kin. I got back here to our area just before time to eat. I had a few minutes to myself so I wrote a v-mail letter to Jack and Bertha and Louise Davis.

After dinner I read a little while and then went out to visit some other units. Later in the afternoon I went to Division Headquarters to get a few song books from the Division Chaplain for our services tomorrow morning. After returning here I had something to eat, then I read your grand letter of the 17th. Darling, I wish you could see you this sunset tonight, it is really a beauty.

By the way, in yesterday’s letter I forgot to mention the fact that we received word of President Roosevelt’s death less than three hours after it happened. It may sound strange Dear, but last summer when they nominated him for a fourth term, I had a feeling he would never complete his fourth four years. I have not too much confidence in the leadership of Truman. Especially when I consider some of those who have power in our country. Nevertheless, men may propose but God disposes. Men may have their plans and motives, but be they even contrary to our own good or the will of God, we still have His promise, “that He will even make the wrath of men to praise His name.” Men may think they rule or control the affairs of the world but God is ruler yet. Honestly Dear, it just makes my heart ache to hear the little respect men have for God and all His abundant blessings. I have yet to see any large group of men in this Army who really show the adoration we are to show the Lord for all His great blessings. Today a rumor going around that Germany had surrendered and Russia has declared war on Japan. Of course, it was erroneous but the thing that got me was the fact that most of men would say, “Boy, all we need now is some scotch and liquor and we would celebrate.” I never heard one single man say we ought to gather together and thank the Lord that awful war over there is over. It just made my heart ache to hear some of the statements I heard when we face such an enemy as we do right here. I go down to the cemetery and I see those laid to rest and the crosses and then I hear such remarks as that above. Don’t worry, if they were where they could, they would probably celebrate in just such a manner. The next day have a headache, feel sluggish and then feel they have celebrated the peace. It seems to me there is far too much celebration of man-made or planned things and not enough love shown and expressed in Godly living. Many men say I believe in the golden rule and that’s my religion and church. And those same individuals will do unchristian things to get a promotion or favor from some superior. It’s just like the fellow who says he thinks the bank is a good thing and then never deposits anything. Those who say I believe in the golden rule and that’s my religion, ought also to realize the Golden Rule is in a person,(Jesus Christ), and only by knowing and abiding by His commands are they living the Golden Rule. Christ said, ”If you love me (that is if you believe in the Golden Rule), you will keep my commands.” I certainly feel bad to constantly hear our Lord’s name profaned and blasphemed and then have men say, “That’s what the Army does to you, but when I go back home to my wife and children I’ll quit.” Men will boast of physical prowess, their accomplishments academically, but think it is an expression of weakness not to have a jolly good time while you can. And you know what I mean by jolly. They are saying the new peace plan must have teeth in it if it’s going to work, but men are ignoring and forgetting God because His gospel and word has teeth in it. The teeth are His commands. But men do not seem to learn that “whatsoever a man soweth he also shall reap.” Peace and the more abundant life are conditions of heart and mind expressed in obedience to the highest will of God. They are things we receive, not because we have in ourselves obtained, but have received as a gift. We further have His promise no good thing will I withhold from them who love me and keep my commands. So many talk about how good it will be to get this for over and go home, but the greatest percentage also mean they will probably return to their same standard of morals and spirituality; forgetting that moral and spiritual standard are the only foundation on which anything durable can be built. “Except God build the house, they that build build in vain.” Dear, I had a little more time this evening to write so I thought I would take advantage of it and tell you about my feelings and convictions after all the things I have experienced since being overseas. I wanted to write and answer some of your questions and make comments but it is almost dark now so I must close for tonight. I’ll try to answer some of your letters tomorrow night. God bless you my Beloved in all things. Thank you Darling for being such a devoted true Christian wife and companion. Give my love to the folks.

Yours forever in the love of Christ Jesus

Our Lord and Savior,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed you will find a letter from Hollys and one from Louise Davis.

One thought on “April 14, 1945

  • Dan Reed
    April 14, 2019, 7:05 am

    Peace and the more abundant life are conditions of heart and mind expressed in obedience to the highest will of God. They are things we receive, not because we have in ourselves obtained, but have received as a gift. We further have His promise no good thing will I withhold from them who love me and keep my commands.

    Willis saw beyond his external circumstances and saw how we need to follow Jesus’ commands to have real peace in our hearts and the world.

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