Friday, November 11, 2011

Paul Baron’s First Letter to His Son, 1945: A Veterans Day Post.

In April, 1945, S/Sgt Paul Hirsch Baron deployed to the Marianas with the 501st Bomb Group, US Army Air Force. I have eight letters he wrote back to his wife Sarah and new son Richard. He wrote one of these specifically to me. It’s dated May 11, ’45 – I was 29 days old:

My Dear Son Rick – Forgive me for not answering your letters – but as Mommy has explained to you I’m pretty busy. Now don’t misunderstand – I’m not winning this war by a long shot, Rick – but maybe what little I’m contributing is helping.

Let me tell you about it.

In Germany we would be known as Hitler’s Labor Battalions – you know as well as I what they were; and you know as well as I the difference there is that indefinable Something, which you’ll learn about at some future date…that knows the true meaning of the words “Right” and “Wrong.” And eventually justifies its meanings.

But enough of that. Golly, son, I surely would like to see you and you take good care of Mommy till I get back. You know, son, between you and me, I kinda like the idea of you coming to live with us. Your Dad, Paul.

Germany had surrendered unconditionally on Monday, May 7, 1945 at Reims in northeastern France, four days before this letter was written. Victory in Europe (VE) Day was celebrated on May 8. I don’t know how much of the awful story of the Third Reich was yet known to Daddy on Guam, on the far side of the world. The Empire of Japan – the Axis power Daddy was fighting directly in the Pacific – surrendered September 2, 1945.

Veterans Day is when I recall that my father served, along with Emmanuel Katz and Sam Slavik. Tom Ritter. Phil Slavik. Norman Sabel and Sherman Sabel. Joel Hirsch Goldberg. Thomas Biddulph, Richard Dailey, Richard Fox, Bill Gay and Richard Sutter. David Starr. Frank B Foulk. Chris Hrabe. AJ Smith and Paul Hoven. John Naumann. James Hairgrove. Irving Kaplan. Columbus D Reeves and Jimmy Reeves.

Herman L Eisenberg. Harold Borenstein. Phillip Becker. George A Schuler, Jr., Alan Vera. Nathanael Charles Yonka, Jr. Hoi Nguyen and Ellis Alexander. The names from the Gunroom (you know who you are): Paul Johnson, KCMO, and “Charlezzzzz” Muñoz. Charles Rose and Bill Krull. Gary Bearden. Bernard Mazursky. Clarence Everett Latham and Irene Helen Phillippe. Meyer Horwitz. And me – USN, ’68-’72.

Every year this list grows longer – please feel free to add names of your own, so we will always remember.


Erin McNemar said...

How special that you have those letters! Thanks for sharing! Love reading it!

compostmoi said...

Richard- thank you so much for this letter from Daddy. I heard his "voice" in a way I've never heard it before , or perhaps it reminded me of things long forgotten, like the sound of his actual voice, his humor and his sweet way with the world around him. Did he ever call you Rick when he returned from war? And may I see the other letters? This one is a treasure. Again, thanks so much for it. xxev

S Reeves said...

You are so blessed to have letters from your father, Richard. Thanks for sharing with us.

Richard Laurence Baron said...

Thanks for the comments, all. Evalyn, finding and reading that letter is the only time I've discovered that he ever called me "Rick." I wondered whatever happened to that nickname? I would have loved to heard him do it often in life...

Miriam Eisenberg said...

So the Rick name did not seem to stick. I think Richard works just fine!

Lovely letter and you are indeed lucky to have it. My mom (much to her dismay now) threw out all my dad's WW2 letters when we moved houses in 1963! That would have been such a treasure.

Odile S said...

I'm from the Netherlands and my family would not have survived if men like your father would not have fought. It's special to me too to read a letter like this. Very special,
all the best wishes to your family, and to all families of veterans who read this.