My father was a rifleman in WWII, serving as a scout in Company B of the 395th Infantry. He had been in a reserve unit, and was not called up until April of 1944, because he was older (33) and the father of two small children (my older sisters, Jean Ann and Sally). He was in France, Belgium and Germany and fought in 3 major conflicts, including the Battle of the Bulge.
Lawrence Anthony Dellasega, 1911 – 1984
While he was gone, he and my mother wrote hundreds of letters to each other, and mother saved every one that she received. This is one of my favorites which was written especially to Jean Ann and Sally in 1945. It’s such a sweet letter, and although the mention of the dead German seems weird now, I guess it probably wasn’t at the time.
One month after this letter was sent, my dad was shot while on a scouting assignment. The bullet actually hit a tree right next to him, which resulted in lots of shrapnel wounds to his face and the loss of most of his teeth. My mother received a telegram (which she also kept) from the Secretary of War, stating that her husband had been “slightly wounded.” My dad told me later that those telegrams always said “slightly wounded” or “killed in action” — nothing in between — but I’m not sure if that’s true. He was sent to a hospital in France for treatment, and then back to the front lines.
Daddy kept all of his medals in his Purple Heart presentation box. Whenever I was sick, he would take them out, tell me about each one, and then pin them on my pajamas. I loved that.