I examined all my life for a dream and I found it in you. The best of the times in my life all contract with my beautiful family, and you will never know how complete you made me. Little Johnny, oh how I never got to see you, but I know deep down inside my soul how handsome you are. I will always hold with me the feel of the soft kicks on your mother’s stomach, and the encouragement I acknowledged when we attained that you were on the way. Night after night I dream of both of you, please do not ever think that since I was not about that I did not love you. You are perceived of love and I came to this terrible place for love. I write this letter to you in regards to speak of my horrible time here in the trenches. Just a few days ago I returned from the battle of Verdun. So much has happened in just the first week of war and currently, I am recovering still from the injuries I withstood in battle. Raining day and night the trenches, there is never a time when one is completely dry. Due to the poor weather, the quality and quantity of food have drastically decreased causing all the soldiers to starve. Even at this moment, as I am writing this, my bare skin is still wet, fur blankets and overshoes are inept in the trenches. Due to the poor weather and the British Naval Blockade, the quality and quantity of food originating from the homefront has drastically decreased causing all the soldiers to starve. What we had thought was little food has transformed into a rational where there is no point in eating at all. The schedule of my everyday life in the trenches remains the same all throughout. Waking up before dawn and preparing for war, going to war, and resting is all my life consists of. My imagination of this war being heroic and awesome has changed as I come to understand the reality of war and violence. The front line is the most vulnerable of the trenches, and as I scrambled into the area where we call “ No – Mans Land”, truly I tell you that my life flashed in front of my eyes. Our leader, General Von Falkenhayn, desires to secure victory for Germany by crushing the French army before Allies grow in strength with the help of British forces. He plans on targeting the French front by securing heights on the east bank of Verdun’s river. Using more than 1200 artillery shells, which are large caliber guns that are slow at firing but shot high bomb-like shells across the great distance of “ No – Man’s Land,” killing multiple people at once, to destroy France’s army. He believes that his strategy will overlook the surrounding area, making it critical for the French to retake Verdun. But aside from the war, I had the urge of telling someone about my uncanny encounter of a colonial subject. I was tempted to tell my comrades about my encounter yet feared that I may be shamed upon for having pity on the poor soul. It was during the first stages of the war when I had temporarily lost my position due to the shelling. Multiple shells were launched near my position and nearly everyone within a few feet from me had been affected. The effect of all those shells restricted my sense of sight and I struggled to crawl towards where I thought was the dugout. Once I thought I was safe, I carefully climbed out of the deep pit and scanned my surroundings to check if any of my companions were still alive. However to my surprise, instead I found a soldier trembling by what it seemed like one of the colonial subjects and his comrade, and immediately when he saw me he stood quickly. Realizing that he was one of the French soldiers my instincts persuaded me into killing him at that instant. But he carefully walked over and showed me a picture of a little boy, and I noticed the boy in the picture looked a lot similar to the young boy that was next to him. When I comprehended that that was his little brother I suddenly visioned little Johnny in my head. Tears began running down my cheeks as I slowly lowered my gun, and before any of my men saw I warned him to leave. If anyone of my men had seen what I did, I would have been executed for having such pity on our enemies. The reason why I wanted to share this unusual story with you is that although life in the trench has the ability to change me intellectually, I still am the same person before I entered this war and I will forever love you.
P.S. Included in this letter is an image of something that I had drawn to show you what it is really like here in the trenches. In this image is my comrades and I resting before dawn breaks, and it was my turn to keep the lookout for not only the enemy forces but also the pesky rats that travel through our trenches in the night. I hope after you read this that you are comforted that I am safe and well and that soon after this war we will be reunited with our son, living a happy life that we have always dreamt of.
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