October 29, 1944
Dearest Darling Sweetheart:
There were no planes today and of course that meant we didn’t get any mail. I do hope we get some mail soon. I cannot possibly tell you how lonesome I become when I fail to receive any letters from you. Your faithfulness and devotion are indeed a source of great spiritual help to me. God be praised for such a good wife. I have thought of you many times today and I’m sure you must’ve picked up my broadcasting at sometime or other.
This has been a little different Lord’s day than I have ever experienced before, I will tell you about part of it and the rest of it will have to remain untold for now. We had our regular service at the Air Base at the early hour. And the memorial service was set up for the regular time of services at the Infantry area. They were a pretty good number of men at the service considering the circumstances. There were several pictures taken so I will send you a copy or so if I can. Briefly, I will give you the way the service proceeded. I started the service by quoting, “The Lord is in His Holy Temple,” and also II Chronicles 7:14. And then we sang, “He Leadeth Me.” Then I had the invocation, and a quartet (made up of a Jewish man, a Catholic and two protestants) sang, “the Old Rugged Cross.” After that, I had them read a very appropriate responsive reading, then I had prayer followed by a hymn, “Abide with Me.” (This was also sung by the quartet). I titled my message, “For What is Your Life?”, taken from James 4:14. At the conclusion of the message I asked the men to stand while I prayed. I signaled the squad sergeant and he ordered his firing squad into position. When he was in position, at a prearranged signal the pallbearers took the representative casket (we never did recover the young man’s body) and followed me as you would going to the grave in a regular cemetery, out into the water to the edge of the reef. As you would realize, I’m sure we had planned the service for the time when the tide would be out. When I turned around and faced the group on the shore that was the signal to the sergeant to take command of the firing squad, and as soon as the volleys were fired, the bugler sounded Taps. The great breakers coming over the reef were making so much noise that we couldn’t hear Taps but when he took the bugle from his lips, the pallbearers lowered the representative casket into a large hole off the edge of the reef. Raymond and I put ropes on it so there wouldn’t be any danger to us while it was lowered over the edge of the reef. All of the men stood at attention until the pallbearers and I returned to the shore.
When I write to the soldier’s family I will tell them what I did in the service and will try to enclose a few pictures for them, for I am sure it will help to know what the service memorial was like for their son. Captain Wilkinson thought it was very impressive and he said he had never seen anything like it before. He said he thought it made the men think. I do hope it helped in some way.
This noon I had dinner with the Infantry Officers, and as soon as I could, I went to see a man about a problem he has. After helping him what I could, I came back to Task Force Headquarters. Captain Wilkinson and I left here as soon as possible. To do what we had to do took most of the afternoon.
As soon as supper was over, I came back to my quarters and did a little reading. And then I wrote a letter to Gale Hollenstiener. By that time, the movie was ready to begin so I went over to see what we were to have. I stayed through the news reel and came back to my quarters. Before writing this letter to you, I wrote a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Hanson and one to the Riley’s in Boston. Riley’s have surely been good to me, they have sent some kind of a Christmas box.
Just a few moments ago I had the privilege of hearing a good organ program by shortwave. There was only one thing wrong with it, the program only lasted 15 minutes.
Well Sweetheart, it is late and I am tired so I think I will close for tonight. I do hope we have some mail tomorrow. God bless you Dear in all things. Be sure to give any of our friends my best wishes. And be sure to give my love to Mom and the Chief.
Sweetheart, I will forever be glad for
The privilege I have of being just
Yours in the Lot of Christ,
P.S. By the way, have you talked to Mil and Daunt lately? Or have you talked to Barrs, Mrs. Norris or the Cooks? If you do, be sure to give them my love and best wishes.