Friday, June 15, 2012

from Rosa Morgan, 8 May 1945, Seward, Alaska

First Day of Peace, 1945

Dearest Mother,
It was on a day something like this that you first heard from me, wasn’t it? [Rosa was born on Nov. 9, the “False Armistice” just before the end of World War I. Her mother said people were cheering in the streets at her birth.] So we think it an appropriate time for you to hear again from your long-silent daughter. I have more to say on the occasion of this war’s ending than the last. 


The sentiment is far from unique but, Mother, it comes from the heart and it is about the only coherent thought I can produce today, what with four or five night and days of hanging over the radio trying to coax the right words out of the rising and fading roar of the short wave, followed by a period of celebrations shared with other peace-happy GIs. We didn’t beat the dishpan out of shape or derail any trolleys (Seward hasn’t got ‘em), or stampede the reindeer, but four happy people talked away the hours until morning in the bare (except for radio and army cot) living room of the ACS house, building dream castles we hadn’t dared to think about even two weeks ago. One of the two who shared our watch was a former newspaperman from Iowa assigned for some obscure army reason to the Medics. Besides a wife at home, Dave has a small daughter and a son he has never seen.  Mac, a mess sergeant, has a 2 ½ year old girl back in New York left in her aunt’s care. Her mother died when she was born and Mac cherishes nothing else in the world but this tiny Jessica whom he hasn’t seen since she was a year old. 

Compared to the long of these two to have the war over and to be allowed to go home and back care of their families, our own enthusiasm for release to a peaceful world must seem insignificant. But it isn’t. We just add their desire to ours and all the others around us, and the collective total of wishes for a post-war world beginning right quick is staggering, even in this small post.  … Talking about the new feeling of lightness—probably no more than the forgotten pre-war normal sensation of freedom from the dead weight of absolute army authority that sits on an enlisted man’s chest and interferes with every breath--we all agreed that today, if we wanted to try, we could fly.

All our love,

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