Colorado- 90 year old WWII veteran Bill Moore served in General Patton’s Third Army. Thousands of miles away from America, fighting the Germans under horrific conditions, he never knew whether or not he would see his girlfriend again. And like all soldiers, he wrote letters home.
Though his beloved saved every letter he wrote to her, when she died in 2010 they disappeared, and the family couldn’t find them again. One day, Ilene Ortiz, who had been shopping at a thrift store, opened an old record album and found tucked inside the jacket an original letter from a 20 year old soldier to his love.
Ortiz had the letter for 6 months, and even contacted Denver’s ABC7 news station to help her find the owner. They did. Ortiz, gave the letter too Melinda Gale, Moore’s daughter.
“My darling, lovable, alluring, Bernadean,” she read. “I ran out of space, but I could have written a lot more adjectives describing you. You are so lovely, darling, that I often wonder how it is possible that you are mine. I’m really the luckiest guy in the world, you know. And you are the reason, Bernadean. Even your name sounds lovely to me….It’s just when I get so horribly, terribly lonely for you that I write letters like this. I have never been so homesick for anyone in my life as I am for you.”
Ms. Gale told the news station that her parents – as so many others during the war- had met while her dad was on furlough. When he came home, they married, moved to Colorado, and had 3 children. They were married for 63 years. Melinda had tears in her eyes as she read her father’s words, but it was her father’s reaction that touched the hearts of all who saw it.
“When you’re apart for that reason, not knowing if and when you’d ever see that person again, every chance you got to communicate was just wonderful.”
Letters are important
As “The Greatest Generation” passes into history, there are connections to our modern day military that often go unnoticed. The writing of letters, the love of home…these are shared by old and young alike.
For Bill Moore, the chance to once again touch the love of his life, even in a letter that will now be passed down from generation to generation. was a precious gift. Remember to write to our men and women who are standing for us in the military. Though the times have changed significantly, the hearts are the same.