A World Away Sustaining Connections
Mail is important for deployed personnel and their families. The postal system enables service personnel to receive news from loved ones and stay current with and participate in events in their home town. Care packages provide military men and women with some of the comforts of home. Messages from a service man or woman let those waiting at home share in their experiences and their hopes for the future.
"Missing You - Letters from Wartime," about wartime letters, 1861-2010, expresses the essential connection of mail between military personnel and the families and friends left behind.
In 1919, Private John Zimmer wrote to his sister to tell her that he hoped to come home soon. He wrote the letter from a hospital in France using stationery provided by the American Red Cross. Zimmer used the opportunity to thank her for the letters he had received, ask for more correspondence from friends, and express concern about his love life.
Marine Corps Major Reina DuVal sent this letter to a friend while serving in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War. DuVal expressed her feelings on the war, her desire to come home, and some of the strange experiences of living in the desert. Telling her friend that “we live for mail call,” she used the occasion to express gratitude to her friend for writing.
“I sincerely appreciate that you've taken the time to remember us over here. At times we feel so disconnected from reality, but I must tell you we are all endeared to people like yourself who pray, write &/or remember.”
—Major Reina DuVal to her friend, February 27, 1991