Turning Back the Pages: A soldier’s letter to his mother

This is the perfect time of year to share the following letter with you.

I came across it recently in the Star and was touched.

The paper was dated July 4, 1918. The editor made the following comments at the top:

The following letter was received by a Golden mother from a Golden soldier in France.

We publish it with a great deal of pleasure, feeling as we do, that such a tribute from a son to his mother is an honour to both the sender and the recipient.

The son who, among his duties and distractions, can find time and thought to pen such lines must have been blessed with a devoted mother, as she is blessed with a worthy son.

France, May 12, 1918. Mother’s Day.

Dear Mother,

I wrote you yesterday and then suddenly remembered that today would be Mother’s Day and decided not to let it pass again without letting you know how much we ALL love you.

Mothers are a class by themselves; different in most respects to any other being.

The chap next to me received word that his mother was no longer on Earth.

It was he who reminded me of Mother’s Day, and about an hour afterward, he had the telegram saying she was gone.

The poor chap did not even know she had been ill and it hit him hard.

When one mentions “home,” we never do so without thinking of mother.

Mother means home and home means mother to us always.

The word, too, recalls memories away back to the time when thought seems to have been impossible for us and yet memory of you travels back to such a time.

From there we recall the many things you have done for us right up to the present time.

We see it all again now. The daily grind of cooking, washing and sewing until your eyes were tired at night – long after we, as kids, were fast asleep.

There was the basketfull of socks to be darned and clothes to patch, lunch to be got ready for school next day.

Perhaps you think we forget, but we don’t, at least not for long. How can we?

You taught us to love and think of you besides the many other things to keep us growing toward the manhood you desired for us and the many spankings, too, were not forgotten; the many were few in comparison with our deserts.

I remember many instances, too, where I was forgiven, where you should have spanked.

Do you? Needless to say, we all long for the time when we can return home and make amends by showing you how much we love you.

This is one of our greatest desires and one which, by God’s help, we shall be able to fulfill when the war is won and we can come home.

Not until then, though. We’d be ashamed to show our faces before that. After all, it is our mothers and homes we are fighting for.

If you could see the suffering and hardships of the mothers of France, and theirs is an heroic endurance, you would not want us to return until victory has been won.

When freedom is once more assured, we shall be glad to come to you again. Till then, therefore, we stay where we are and fight for mother and home.

Unfortunately, this letter was not signed but I believe that it probably spoke for every soldier in Golden that was stationed so far away from home in any of the war years.

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