Letters to a Lost Soldier: President Truman proclaims a day of prayer on Mother's Day 1945


Dear Daddy,
(I originally wrote in May, 1945) President Truman said the western world has been freed of evil forces. He added, “It is fitting for us to thank God” and designated May 13, 1945, Mother’s Day, as a day of prayer.
Many people will be attending church or another place to pray. I am quietly giving thanks for your rescue and the wonderful people in my life. You should know how your brothers’ wives are like mothers to me. I love Aunts Libby, Shirley and Elza. They invite me to join their families for dinner some evenings and help celebrate birthdays and holidays. I am grateful your brothers married nice ladies, who are perfect aunts of mine and mothers to my cousins Roz and Mack, Herbie and Nancy, and Barney and Sondra.
“Whatever our faith and however we pray,” President Truman asked us to “offer joyful thanks to God for the victory we have won, pray for support to the end of our present struggle and guidance into the way of peace.”
President Truman said, “I also call upon my countrymen to dedicate this day of prayer to the memory of those who have given their lives to make possible our victory.” Aunt Libby, Uncle Eddie and the rest of the family grieve over the death of Cousin Raymond, whose plane was shot down over Austria. We remember him as a loving, courageous person.
We do not pray together at home, so I go by myself to a secret place by the side of my bed near the window, where no one can see me. I pray you come home soon and are not reassigned to Burma. We hear many GI’s who fought in Europe are heading to the Pacific to win the war against Japan. Some of my friends go to church or synagogue with their families to pray. Could we do that when you come home?
We try to be patient and are glad you are being treated well at Camp Lucky Strike with good food and medical care to restore your health. You told Mommy that you got a short pass to visit Paris and the women there literally threw themselves at the Americans. You reassured Mommy there was no woman in the world for you but her. I know she feels the same way about you because she refused to go out with men who invited her, telling them, “I’m waiting for my husband to return home.”
Uncle Eddie spent some time in Washington, D.C. advising President Truman with others about the GI Bill of Rights. It was passed when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President. You are entitled to education, assistance starting a business, a low cost loan for buying a house, unemployment insurance and other rewards for serving our country during wartime. I hope you take advantage of these rights for servicemen.
We live in the best country on earth and I’m glad we can continue speaking English instead of needing to learn German. President Truman wants unconditional surrender from Japan. I don’t want to speak Japanese!
When General Eisenhower and the American troops liberated the concentration camps, we learned they also discovered treasures stolen by the Nazis and hidden away in salt mines. Paintings and other works of art taken from museums and homes of Jewish people will be returned to their owners. This is a big job for the Allied soldiers appointed to save valuable works of art before the Nazis destroyed them during their retreat. Just as the Nazis were commanded to steal and loot by Hitler, they were also ordered to burn art creations. It’s miraculous that the Allies arrived in time to save some people and possessions.
Our class visited the Art Institute of Chicago and we saw beautiful paintings. It’s hard to believe that the evil Nazis were ordered to burn works of art just as they gassed people and burned their bodies. They don’t love life and western culture. They are haters and I’m thankful they lost the war. I’m lucky to live in the USA!