Monday, August 20, 2012

20 August 1945

This letter lived in a wallet, transferred into each replacement for many years. I well up every time I read it.

To the officers and men of the First Marine Division:

The President of the United States, our Commander-in-Chief, has just announced the final and complete surrender of the Japanese people, government and armed forces. The war is officially ended. This is an hour of triumph, of pride in the great accomplishments of our arms, and joy that the bloody war which has taken so many of our comrades can claim no more.

You of the First Marine Division may well know an especial triumph, feel a particular pride for yours was the force which first turned the tide against the Japanese. Many units have fought the Japanese in the past year, but it has been over three years since this Division struck the first offensive blow of the war on land, when it landed in the lower Solomon Islands. That historic campaign, fought under the greatest hardships, attracted the attention of the whole world- and the name Guadalcanal came to be synonymous with Marine heroism, perserverance and military achievement.

You have many memories. You have left your dead at Tenaru and Wana Draw and Bloody Nose Ridge and Target Hill, Matanikau and Dakeshi. You have fought through dense jungles, mighty swamps, and coral ridges honeycombed with caves. You have endured much- extreme heat, thirst, hunger, ceaseless exposure to wind and rain. You have borne the pain of long seperation from home and family. Your life has been so Spartan, that ordinary comforts have become as luxuries.

And now it is over. The enemy is vanquished, the field is won. And now, to you who have borne the flag of your country and standard of your corps from Lungs Ridge to Shuri Castle, WELL DONE, and may God bless you.

D. Peck
Major General, U.S. Marine Corps


Anonymous said...

Goosebumps, what a powerful letter. General Peck gives a writing lesson to us all. Count the number of times he uses "you." He does not use "I" anywhere in his letter, it seems he takes no credit, generously lavishing it all upon the surviving soldiers.

"WELL DONE," General Peck. Now I shall go search for more on this General, learn a thing or two about the author of this gem.

Thanks, Sir.


Patsy said...

That's an amazing letter, Toad.

Pink Benny said...

God bless every woman and man serving in our armed forces and the families that support them. Thank you for what you are doing for me and all my fellow Americans. Your service is appreciated.