Letters from the Good War

A running series of World War II letters written by a Navy Seabee who served in the South Pacific theatre taking the reader through the entire war experience.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

FINSCHAFEN, NEW GUINEA, 4/17/1944

Finschafen, Papua, New Guinea, Monday 8:00 P.M. 4/17/44

Dear Folks,

I haven't written for several days for lack of subject matter. Each day I expect that a letter will come, but no, nothing. So I've lost patience, and, in spite of no letters, I must write.

In the near future, yes in the very near future, you'll not receive any letters from me. We will be so desperately busy that none of us, especially those in communications, will have time to write. Take my word for it though, everything is fine, fine and dandy, it's just that we have a raft of work.

I was quite thrilled Saturday night and Sunday afternoon to hear San Francisco over the high frequency receiver headphones. Richard Crooks sang. I listened to a symphonic program, and I just missed Bob Hope. Quite a thrill! We get Tokyo, Berlin and South America quite well. The fellows often get to talking about home, about life in the States, as if the past were a dream, only a vision. And my mind wanders sentimentally back to past instances, which, at the time, seemed so insignificant. Yet, I confess, I enjoy, inexplicably, my present experience. Its uncertainty thrills me. Yet the anticipation of returning someday and seeing Mom all powdered and dressed up just for me, of Dad cracking witty jokes, and Ronnie whistling down the walk as he comes to dinner, the anticipation of witnessing these things again is something that urges me on.

The struggle seems so enormous out here, with no end in sight, yet we all dream of that momentous day. For me that day will be long in coming. It will cover an enormous span of my life, a greater fraction than for most, since I haven't lived very long. When we come here and fight and build, we forget the significance of our cause and, instead, think only of home. That's what we're fighting for, not the principles that the demagogues so exuberantly shout. Home represents everything for us.