Time to start thinking about the 4th of July and family gatherings. Harry Buzzell, my grandfather's brother, automatically comes to mind as he is the one in our family who made the ultimate sacrifice in 1918 during World War I in France. His story was captured in his own words in 60 letters that he wrote home from 1914 to 1918.
I've written about him before some and even presented a speech once. But now I want to look at it again and thought that I would create a series about him in honor of the July 4th holiday weekend.
The photograph shows his burial site in France. Harry was killed at age 24 on October 20, 1918. The armistice ending the war came just 22 days later. He was buried in France. His last letter was written October 18, two days before his death. The last letter was not even postmarked until October 23 and certainly would have arrived in his mother’s mail much later.
Excerpts From Harry’s Letters
(Here I have changed the grammar and spelling.)
Last letter, written October 18, 1918, France, to Mother
Just a few lines to let you know I am well as ever and am thinking of you very often. I am glad to hear you are all well and the crops are as good as could be expected.
Has Arthur gone to camp yet and what do you hear from Clyde? The war news looks pretty good. But you can never tell but we are all hoping it will be all over soon.
I received your letter of Sept 17 and I get the papers right along. You mustn’t think I am sick if you don’t hear from me as often as you think you ought to for it is hard to get a base censor and envelopes. A feller can’t ask the Officers to censor a letter when they are so busy.
I am driving just two horses and ride one of them in a saddle. Of course, I guess the boys would think of that as a funny way to drive.
My side is fine now. I guess it is all well again.
It has been quite muddy but not so awful bad for the time of year.
Yes, some of the boys have colds, but I don’t think there is any grip.
It is a fine habit you have of sending writing material as it is hard to get when you can use it and it is something I must have.
I am glad to hear Myra is well and I would like to see my little nephew. I would like to write to them, but it is all I can do to let you know I am well. The first time you see Myra tell her I will fight harder for the new nephew. I suppose it will be hard to find a name good enough for him.
Hoping this finds you all well and happy with much love from your Soldier boy.
Harry I Buzzell
to be continued