April 21, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

21 April 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well, I have just finished reading for more of your letters, they were for March 22nd, 24th, 25th and April 13th. As per usual, they were wonderful and helped me more than you know. It is always such a blessing and lift to read your letters. It will certainly mean a lot when we don’t have to depend on letters to know how each other feels.

I ate at dawn and finished your letter. I also wrote a v-mail letter to Katherine Riley who is a Red Cross worker at Cushing General Hospital at Framingham, Massachusetts.

Shortly after that, I left here to go on to our cemetery to check up on some of our records. I also gathered some information to see if we can identify one soldier killed in action.

While up there, who should I run into but Alrik Blomquist. We visited for about 20 minutes. It was certainly good to see him. We talked mostly about you, his wife and baby, John and Sherry. Of course there were many experiences to talk about here. But you loved ones back there take priority. That is true with most of us. Nearly every man you talk to will talk more about home and loved ones than anything else. After all, that’s really all we have to look forward to on this side of Eternity.

On our way back, we were not far from Warren Larson’s division so I thought I’d drop by in that I had transportation. I found him almost immediately. I think he was about speechless for he said it just didn’t seem true that we were so close together. I also saw Lieut. Peterson from NSBC. We decided all we needed was a Guide. That will be a news item for them. Warren and I talked for about 15 minutes and then I had to go on. I missed something to eat this noon and then proceeded to Division Headquarters to take care of some things that needed attention.

Later, I came back here and made arrangements for services tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM-that is both Catholic and Protestant. I notified all the units around here by going out and telling them personally.

By the way, when you see Jennie and Laure, be sure to inform them that Warren looks good and he, as most of us, is anxious to get home. He has been over now quite a while so he will probably get to go home after this campaign is over. The Marines have had it easy this time where the Army has had it hard because the enemy concentrated all their fortifications on this end of the island. The northern end of the island is mountainous and very sparsely populated. Alrik said he was glad he wasn’t up here. Our men are moving ahead in spite of great opposition. We had some infiltrate here again last night but all were killed or captured without any of our men being hurt.

Some of the rough terrain on Okinawa. From Sarah Reed’s scrapbook. April 1945.

We had some hot beef stew tonight which really hit the spot. Something like that really tastes good, especially after so much of the same field rations. I’m not complaining because I realize the things we have are healthful and full of vitamins. However, if you had strawberry shortcake almost every day you would become tired of it. Really, Dear I think they do a wonderful job keeping us fed like they do. Often you hear men complain but our rations are so much better than the enemies that there isn’t even a comparison. Every time I get in that chow line and see all the food which is the fruit of our own USA which God has blessed us so abundantly, I cannot help but thank and praise God for His wonderful blessings to us. When you see all of the thousands of men and realize how the fruit of our land supplies our physical needs, not only here on Okinawa but on all the battlefronts of the world. I cannot help but further realize how wonderful it would be if we as a nation would accept the mighty marching orders of the Captain of Our Salvation, “ Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel, baptizing in my name and teach whatsoever things I have commanded you.” Physically we are healthy and strong as a nation because of God’s great blessing to us in the harvest, but spiritually we are suffering from malnutrition. We couldn be strong but we are like the farmer who says there is plenty of time to harvest the crop, but along comes the hail, the insects and fire; and very little is saved or harvested. Unless our zeal for the word of God is greater than our zeal for a world of peace again, we shall see all our ideals and panaceas of a more abundant life vanish like a mirage, only to realize on the desert of worldly gain there is nothing but frustration and despair. The headlines, the news flashes, the radio and movie only thunder out more clearly, “Except God build the house, they that build in vain.” The farmer or gardener when he sees a plant turning yellow, leaves curling or apparently stunted in growth, he immediately looks for insects, moles, weeds or things that may be stunting the growth of the plant. How true the words of the prophet, “Why will not the nations listen to God?” Weeds, insects and diseases are eating at the spiritual life of men, why will they not, as the true horticulturist, look for the enemies which destroy and hinder us from harvesting the more abundant life? The fruits of the flesh are prevalent everywhere, to know the more abundant life we must have the fruits of the spirit. May we together sow seeds of the Spirit that the harvest which He promises will be ours to share with all those we contact. Isn’t that a blessed thought, Dear?

That is a thought which came to me as I saw all the little fields around Okinawa that are ready for the harvest.  I carry a little notebook in my pocket and I have made a few notes and titles for several sermons I hope to preach someday. Some are just titles, but I write them down and when I have more time I’m going to develop the outlines. I feel the main thing is to capture the idea and you can always develop it.

It will certainly be grand when you and I can meditate and discuss the Lord’s word again. I feel confident that we together will be able to serve better than we have before, even though it has caused us much loneliness and heartache. This is the way I have thought of our separation on different occasions. It was hard for Christ to leave the Father but in leaving He came and sought the lost, thus on the cross He could say, “It is finished.” And the Father’s seal of approval was the raising of Christ from the dead. This time of our separation is naturally not the easiest thing, but if it will mean we are met for the Master’s use in years to come, I’m glad we are counted worthy to be so used. My prayer and hope is this Dear, that we together with Paul can say when we came to the twilight years of our life, “I have fought the good fight, I have run the race and I know there is laid up for me a crown, and for all those who love the Lord.”

I have always been happy in the service of the King, but I was only half as happy as I am now because when I met you and learned of your precious love and devotion it was automatically doubled. And together in Christ we have riches untold, for we have that glorious promise found in Philippians 4: 19.

I only pray and hope that my life will be a joy and help to your life and the folks. I only wish you, Mom and the Chief could realize the untold joy and sunshine you have brought into my life, Dear. It seems there has never been a time when I did not know you or the folks.  As for me, the two highlight days of my life are October 1, 1933 and November 1, 1940. And all the other days or anniversaries which are dear to my heart are those which are important to you also. And they all find their source in Him who is the timeless one, for He is our High Priest without beginning or end.

My Dear, it is almost dark and I must close tonight. God bless you my Dear, I will try to answer some more of your questions tomorrow evening.

Yours I am for all the ages in the 

love of Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

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