New Hampshire Marine Raised the Flag at Iwo Jima
Parris Island, S.C.
July 9, 1943
… We went out for bayonet practice, and believe me Kiddo it certainly gives you a funny feeling to know that in my hands I hold two means of killing a person: either stabbing him with the bayonet or shooting him with my rifle … I know that inside of six months I’ll be using my rifle and bayonet to kill, and kill until there’s no more Japs to threaten the girl I love back home … I guess when I was only a kid I never realized that I one day would actually kill a man — as a matter of fact, none of us really like the idea of killing, but if that’s the only language the Axis understand then that’s what it will have to be …
Love as ever and forever,
Feb. 23, 1944
… Outside, the birds are singing just like you hear them up north in the springtime … When you look outside on a day like this, you can’t possibly imagine there’s a war going on. It just doesn’t seem logical — why do people want to fight when there’s such places as this to live in peace in? Then I heard the sound of airplanes, [and] that sorta broke my daydreaming up … It was a bomber … Only 3,000 miles across the ocean, there are no more swell little forests like this; all there is left over there are ruins of buildings, bridges, and roads. And as it is now, lots of husbands and boyfriends are not coming back. I keep telling myself that can’t happen to us, and I don’t think it will — there always be swell little cottages with green shutters, and boys dating girls. By the way, I’ve got a date for life with you after the war, and I never break dates …