Home is ’Just a Letter Away’: Local project seeking veterans’ letters


Project seeking veterans’ letters

By Paul Butler - For the News Journal



This composite shows elements of a typical “V Mail” letter home to Ohio from an American soldier in Normandy, France in 1944.

This composite shows elements of a typical “V Mail” letter home to Ohio from an American soldier in Normandy, France in 1944.


Tom Barr | News Journal

“Mail call!”

There are no more welcome words to a person serving in the military — soldier, sailor, marine, airman or guardsman — those words mean the same thing: “Maybe there’s a letter from home today” from Mom & Dad, Gramps, my best girl or best buddy.

From whom was less important when assigned overseas in an area of active conflict — a letter from anyone with news from “Home” was the overriding factor. Back home things were different, yet the same.

No garbled announcement over a crackling speaker, just the clanging of the lid on the mailbox or the letter carrier’s car pulling away. “Mail call” on the home front brought the hopeful thoughts: “Maybe a letter from Johnny.” Anxious parents, excited siblings or nervous spouse/sweetheart opened that unremarkable, common metal box, that has assumed a role of great significance, with the same trepidation: “Is he/she alright? Any word on when he/she coming home?”

A hundred questions and only one source of information; A common sheet of paper with uncommonly meaningful words, usually hurriedly scribbled with a borrowed “Bic”, but Hemingway himself could not have penned a more powerful discourse.

Those thin sheets of paper from a tablet or box, properly folded, slipped into an envelope, carefully addressed, the flap gently licked, U.S. postage stamp(s) affixed in the upper right corner and placed in that unremarkable metal box to be picked up and delivered to that special “Loved One.” Which direction is that envelope going?

It matters not. Whether it is a letter home or a letter from home. There is one underlying fact: Warmth, joy, relief, sense of purpose, love and many more emotions are contained in that envelope. A feeling of closeness abounds as the recipient reads the words on those pages.

When serving our country, everything is: “Just a Letter Away.”

The Murphy Theatre, in conjunction with Wilmington Veterans Post 49, American Legion and Ohio Living Cape May, will be presenting a very special homespun Veterans Day Program on Sunday, Nov. 8. This year’s program will feature letters written by local veterans and their families.

The Veterans Day planning committee is actively looking for Clinton County veterans’ photos and letters to be displayed, read and shared with the community. The program will highlight the good times and the bad and will hopefully personalize the experience of service during time of conflict, from the service person’s perspective as well as that of the family and friends waiting back at home.

We realize the advent of e-mail has reduced the number of letters written, but printed e-mails are more than welcome.

To participate in this county-wide production by contributing letters and/or photos to the “Just A Letter Away” Tribute to Clinton County Veterans, contact Jen Woodland at 937-623-0952 or the Murphy at 937-382-3643.

This composite shows elements of a typical “V Mail” letter home to Ohio from an American soldier in Normandy, France in 1944.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/07/web1_comp-2.jpgThis composite shows elements of a typical “V Mail” letter home to Ohio from an American soldier in Normandy, France in 1944. Tom Barr | News Journal
Project seeking veterans’ letters

By Paul Butler

For the News Journal