From Chuck's Letters

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All the photos in this slideshow were in the boxes of letters that Chuck sent to me during all the periods that he had to be away. I decided to keep these photos separate from all the others. I will put the inscriptions on here, that is if there were any. I am using the dates of the letter because there were no dates on the photos.

Chuck wrote to me almost every day when he was away. Sometimes I would get a letter that began on one day only to end up a few days later, with a sentence or two for each day in between. I knew that meant he was on the move and took the few seconds of downtime that he had to tell me what he was thinking. He had to be very careful what he said in his letters because security was of the utmost importance.

I read those letters over and over during the periods he was away. When the mission was completed and he returned home I bundled them up and packed them away. A few days ago I decided that it was time to do whatever I was going to do with the letters. After looking at a few of them I knew that I did not want to go back to those days ever again. Still I had to open each and every one of them to insure that I did not destroy anything that could be of importance to my children and future generations of this family.

I found lots of photos that I had forgotten all about. I still find it hard to believe that I packed them all away with the letters, but I did. All the photos have been scanned and uploaded to this slideshow. Some are in very bad shape but I did the best I could with each and every one of them. If I had days, or perhaps weeks, to spend on individual photos I probably could make them look much better. I think I may be getting a little too old to consider that approach. If you should happen to recognize any of these people I would really appreciate it if you would let me know. My email address is on almost every page of my website.

As I went through the letters one caught my eye. One of the most well-known and most respected Green Berets back then was a man we called "Charlie" Beckwith. Chuck started working with Charlie off and on, you know how it goes, when Charlie was a First Lieutenant. In this particular letter Chuck was really getting drunk; he did not do that often. Turns out that Charlie had been shot that day and all the men were really torn up. They also lost about a dozen men that same day. In all the hundreds, or thousands, of letters that I received from Chuck that is about the only one that had words that he never used around me or the boys. How ironic that later on down the road Charlie would also be an important figure in my career!!

All the letters have been put to bed now. I spent hours running all of them through the shredder so that part of my life is now definitely over. But the memories will live on forever.

© Laura Harper