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FOR 15 YEARS now, the Legacy Project has been encouraging Americans to seek out and share war letters in an effort to help preserve these irreplaceable documents —a campaign that World War II magazine has supported by asking readers to submit their own wartime correspondence. This letter, courtesy of reader Pamela Mitchell, is an eloquent reminder of how insightful and meaningful letters can be. In May 1943, Mitchell’s father, Private Howard Greenberg, was about to leave Camp Crowder, Missouri, to fight in the China Burma-India Theater when he sent home a loving Mother’s Day greeting. (Harvey and Normy were his brothers, and also served.)

 Dear Mom:

In sending that Mothers Day card to you — I know there was an expression of Mothers Day in it — but never could a card truly fulfill or express — the sentiments as my personal letter to you. The home life of yesterday is replaced by the life of correspondence. A form of living has changed Mom. It does seem strange how much this entire World is living on letters. Literally living on letters. The very lines of so many individuals keyed up to an anticipation, for the sight of a letter, it is almost painful. Just picture it Mom — a word, a confidence — a blessing is born in one side of the world — awaited, digested and treasured on the other side of that same world. So you see Mom, I and 8 million soldiers have come to regard mail — with a loyalty and a reverence, that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. A soldier doesn’t leave his Bks. or his camp without the last minute comment “I should take some writing material along,” or a place is worth the visit if it answers this query, “Can I write some letters there.”

So on Sunday, Mom, when you receive this letter, think of it as my message of reassurance — to you. We have so much to be thankful for Mom. Each of us is getting a chance to do his share. We know each is well. Harvey — in Iran — Normy in California, and me in Missouri. We can only be thankful, He who watches over us has allowed me to remain in this country for so long. That my whereabouts are known to you at all times. And the thanks for those brief but wonderful, visits home that meant so much to both of us.

This coming Sunday is your day as set aside by glorious tradition but if all the tradition in this World were forgotten — the love that we hold for each other is capable of sustaining a Mothers Day to the end of Time.

Mom, we at home, our family, has always had a wonderful thing. It has been the result of your nourishing, your believing and your courage — it is the continuation of that courage Mom — that will keep all those things together — for our return. Then and only then can victory be spelled with a capital V.

So Mom dear — I’ll bring this Mothers Day letter to a close — keep me in your thoughts as I do you — and may God bring this world of chaos to an end before the next Mother’s Day is reached.

May everyday be a Mother’s day.

All my Love


Greenberg served in Kunming, China, and Calcutta, India, before returning home to the States alive and well after the war. (His brothers also survived.) He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign on the GI Bill, then worked for the state of Illinois as an accountant. Greenberg passed away at the age of 89 on July 4, 2010.

Originally published in the April 2013 issue of World War II. To subscribe, click here.