|Image from presentation by Anuj Malhotra|
“I don’t know why I am writing this because I really hope that this letter never gets to you, because if it does that means I am dead.
Just because I have passed away does not mean I am not with you. I’ll always be there looking over you, keeping you safe.
So whenever you feel lonely just close your eyes and I’ll be there right by your side. I really did love you with all I had, you were everything to me.”
This is the letter written by a soldier Gunner Lee Thornton to his fiancé before he was killed in Iraq at the age of 22. Many such moving letters have been put together by military historian Sian Price in her book “If You’re Reading This…Last Letters from the Front Line“. The book, a collection of 70 letters, spans 300 years of fighting, from Napoleonic Wars in the late 18th century to Afghanistan today.
Another letter by soldier Private James Coulter, who died in the Boer War, to his wife is heart-rending to read:
“I would give 10 years of my life to see you and Isabel for a few seconds but I see you a thousand times in the day and night.
I do not require to tell you I know you can and will care for our little one, fetch her up as like yourself and she will not have many enemies in the world.
I will close now with love to you and the baby.”
These letters are a sad reminder of the supreme sacrifice soldiers make for their country and countrymen. We often forget that they are not just soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors but also husbands, sons, wives, daughters, fathers and mothers.
Away from their families and loved ones, they brave bullets and shells. Sacrificing the comfort of cozy, soft beds at home, they try to snatch sleep in trenches. Braving the vagaries of weather and indiscriminate gunfire, they ‘live’ under the shadow of death day and night. For love of country, they happily embrace death.
Let us not let their sacrifice go in waste. Let us not forget the fallen soldiers and those in the ground fighting for us. On this Memorial Day, authorSTREAM salutes not only the troops of America but of the entire world. They are the true heroes of our race.
If you have an inspiring story to share with us, we’ll be happy to hear in the comments below.