Valfal

Valfal

Posted on 01/21/2017


Photo taken on January 19, 2017


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Living through History

Living through History 

Saturday Self-Challenge: History

I always knew that my father-in-law Guy was a WWII veteran. What I didn't realize until after he died was that he participated in a piece of important American History: the Battle of Luzon, which took place on the northern end of the Philippine Islands. The battle resulted in a win for the Allied forces and the liberation of the Philippines. We all knew where he fought during WWII, but did not realize what he and his division accomplished over there. After Pop died, the family went through his belongings and found this letter he had written to his family in Connecticut, USA (we received a xerox copy). It is a first hand account of his time spent in Luzon. I will let the letter, written on September 8, 1945, speak for itself. It is abridged for the sake of time and space:

Dear Mom and Helen,

...I'm still on Northern Luzon in the Cagayan valley, but I don't think I'll be here very long. According to the latest rumors around here the 37th Division may be going to Japan for occupation duty... This division is on sort of a rest now, after travelling practically all over this island since we landed here...

...Just as a little review for you, I landed here on "D-Day" (January 9th). From Lingayen Gulf we were the spearhead in the drive for Manila. When I entered Manila most of the city was burning - the Japs of course were acting like a bunch of maniacs. The whole city was lit up so bright that it was almost like daylight. That same night the Americans (and many other nationalities) who were held prisoners by the Japs for three years were rescued and I helped some of them get to the quarters we prepared for them. You can't imagine what a pitiful condition those people were in! About one third of them couldn't walk by themselves and the rest were in pretty bad condition, too. I talked to quite a few guys who fought on Bataan and Corregidor in 1941-42 and boy they really had some stories to tell about the Japs. Some of them were on the "Death March" that you've probably read about in the papers. When I saw those guys I understood a lot better why we were fighting this war.

After the battle for Manila was over we had about a month rest and then were in the Battle for Baguio. That was very mountainous country. After Baguio, we came up through the Cagayan Valley and when we met the paratroopers from the north the fighting was almost over.

It's really been quite an experience, although it was a lot of hard work, too. There were times when I thought my number was up but I came through without a scratch. I guess I can thank the good Lord for that. It sure feels good to know that it's all over now.

Most of the time I've been on this Island I've been the personal Radio Operator for the Commanding General of this division, Major General Robert S. Beightler. Every time I went out with him he went up to the front lines to see what was going on and so we got into some pretty hot spots at times.

At the present time I'm not operating anymore. I'm the Radio section Repair man now, and I like the job.

A few days ago I was present at the surrender ceremonies of all Japanese forces on Northern Luzon which was held here at Division Headquarters. It sure did my heart good to see a Jap general sign the surrender papers. The biggest thrill of it all though was at the end of the ceremonies when our Band played the Star Spangled Banner and we all had to stand at attention and salute the flag (including the Japs). That was the biggest thrill I've had since I've been in the army. Those Japs didn't act so tough that day!...

...Well I guess I've said enough for now so I'll close, Hoping to be back with you soon.

Love always,
Guido


For further information on the Battle of Luzon:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Luzon

For more information on my father-in-law's division, the 37th Infantry Division:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/37th_Infantry_Division_(United_States)

John Linton, Smiley Derleth, Rainer Blankermann, Laurence and 32 other people have particularly liked this photo


24 comments - The latest ones
Sami Serola
Sami Serola
That letter is a treasure! It tells so much, also between lines, the feelings of a man who must have witnessed terrible things.

Good shot where those old pictures give the context =)
21 months ago.
Pam J
Pam J
History as it was made. A real and special treasure.
21 months ago.
Hélène Lombard
Hélène Lombard
Un témoignage émouvant ........... tu peux être fière de ton Dady. amts
21 months ago.
Eve
Eve
Un témoignage poignant ...merci du partage
Bises glaciales de France ;-)
21 months ago.
Marie-claire Gallet
Marie-claire Gallet
Very touching, Val !!
21 months ago.
William Sutherland
William Sutherland
Phenomenal photo and historic find!
21 months ago. Edited 21 months ago.
Wierd Folkersma
Wierd Folkersma
Very much information in the letter, really a treasure. Very good picture too.
21 months ago.
Janano -
Janano -
Wow. Speaks for itself Val. Amazing that you have it and good to treasure it. Thanks for the personal insight. Very moving and nicely photographed with no distraction
21 months ago. Edited 21 months ago.
Marta Wojtkowska
Marta Wojtkowska
Great story - something to be cherished.
Thanks for sharing!
21 months ago.
John Lawrence
John Lawrence
Fabulous Pic and story Val.
21 months ago.
k.e.s_kloset
k.e.s_kloset
My dad was in the war too. It's so amazing to read what these guys were going through. Very well illustrated, Val.
21 months ago.
FloryNeige
FloryNeige
une lettre très émouvante... un témoignage poignant
21 months ago.
Larry Drummond
Larry Drummond
A fantastic piece of family memorabilia!
21 months ago.
autofantasia
autofantasia
Such a special piece of history to have Val and the image is as ever beautifully captured! :)
20 months ago.
M♥rJ Photogr♥phy !! ( Marj ) I LoVe it here !
M♥rJ Photogr♥phy !!…
What a treasure to have Val....... History at your finger tips.... Wonderful !!!
20 months ago.
bluehazyjunem
bluehazyjunem
Fantastic pic and your history.
20 months ago.
Annemarie
Annemarie
happy new week
20 months ago.
╰☆☆June☆☆╮
╰☆☆June☆☆╮
That is so interesting Val, thank you for sharing it.
20 months ago.
Zsuzsa
Zsuzsa
Beautiful tribute Val
20 months ago.
Christiane ♥.•*¨`*•✿
Christiane ♥.•*¨`*•✿
Wonderful document for the challenge, Valerie !
And I so much love this picture ! ******
20 months ago.
HaarFager
HaarFager
What a beautiful memory and excellent presentation, Val!
20 months ago.
Rainer Blankermann
Rainer Blankermann
Great idea. Beautiful arrangement and image!
20 months ago.
Smiley Derleth
Smiley Derleth
Great keepsake. It is astounding the central role "ordinary people" played in saving the world. They were extraordinary, and may God bless them all.
19 months ago.