These are my Grandfather's letters. Some are written many years before he joined the war effort and underscore the difficulty of living in that time. Other letters are written from boot camp, both at Leavenworth and Camp Wolters, TX. They describe a man sometimes confident and proud of his accomplishments, and other times unsure of his place in "this man's army", as he put it. The rest of the letters, at best, hint at the plodding pace of war as he fought in France. Because of the censor's watchful eye, his letters are almost benign as they speak of simple things like wishing for hot coffee, fresh pancakes, and music. Nevertheless, they allowed me to glimpse into the heart and mind of a man I never knew. To see what our fighting brave and their families at home gave up to preserve the freedoms we can so easily take for granted.
October 7, 1944
I'm writing this letter in a foxhole. I've been getting your letters regularly. Also one now and then from O.K. You mentioned not having heard from me for a long time. Maybe a letter got lost. It's been pretty rough going. Don't think I haven't been praying, for I have. I'm all right and I have good hope of continuing so. I think of you and the "young lady" constantly. I love you very much. Did you get the $25.00 I had sent to you? Tell Orv, Loty, and all the gang "hello".
My original goal was to simply put the letters on the web so they could be read by anybody with an interest. However, it has turned into a labor of love and the site continues to grow. I am continually amazed by all of those who bravely answered their country's call, and especially the brave men of the 79th Infantry Division. This site is dedicated to all those who fought and those who never came home, who lie mute beneath rank upon rank of white marble markers and other unmarked places forever known but to their god. ~ Michael D. Ketchum
A special thanks to my friends in France, Philippe Sugg and Gerard Louis, for leading me through the French countryside so that I may walk in the final steps of my grandfather and experience such a beautiful country that at one time, was the site of such an epic conflict. I'm also thankful to Pascale Gotterand, for adopting and tending to my grandfather's grave year after year. Words aren't enough for my gratitude.
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