The Museum of Veterans and Military History in Vilonia, has many letters on display. Some are to mothers and fathers. Others to wives, sons and daughters and sweethearts.
The letters convey fears, love and future plans. Many begin with "sorry I haven’t written." Endings include "Take care of yourself," "All my love always," "Give my love to the family," and "don’t worry about me."
Here are some excerpts from letters: "Dad, old boy, I’ll keep my chin up but I can’t keep my feet on the ground."
One letter says, "After two and a half years here, I finally got some wool underwear."
One from a mother to her son: "As I look into the starry heavens and wonder where you are, longing to have you me again, I know that wherever you are, you are being prepared for war. Perhaps, you are already fighting for your country and mine."
One letter, dated Dec. 6, 1942, shares the fears of a senior high school student to her brother. She talked about getting her senior class ring and graduating.
A letter from an aunt to her nephew: "This evening I have thought a lot about a year ago today when you and Leland were here and we got the news about Pearl Harbor. Let’s hope and pray that we will be living in a world of peace at this time next year."
A letter to a son from his parents: "There are a hundred questions we would like to ask but the main thing is to hear from you. If it was only a piece of paper with your name on it at least we would know you are o.k. and hadn’t forgotten us."
One friend writes to another: "I didn’t realize you had been over there a whole year. Time really flies, or does it for you."
One girlfriend wrote to her soldier boyfriend, "You’re going everywhere while I sit here with a star in the window."
Another letter says, "Uncle Sam is telling us what we can buy and what we can’t now. One of my grocery stores can’t even get bacon now. I bet you can’t get it either. When you get home, we will have a big blow out with fried chicken and all the trimmings."
Many letters have similar lines similar to this one: "We are getting very anxious to hear from you as we got no letter at all in April."
Many of the letters are on V-mail and a magnifying glass is needed. One is available for use. Plan to spend some time. It’s hard to leave any on display unread.
Located at 53 N. Mt. Olive, the museum hours are 9 to 4, Fridays and Saturdays. Also, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., on the first Sunday of the month. No charge to tour. For information, call 501-796-8181.