A Father’s War Letter: Memorial Day Feature

The following letter was written by Lt. Walter Schuette during World War II, to be read to his newborn daughter in the event that he did not make it home alive.[1]

As we read what was on this father’s mind while off at war, may we remember all who are currently, serving away from their families, to pay the price of our freedom.

American Soldier Writing Home
Photo by Joseph Schershcel/Timepix

December 21, 1943

My Dear Daughter, Anna Mary,

Some day I shall be able to tell you the conditions under which I write this letter to you.

You arrived in this world while I was several thousand miles from your mother’s side. There were many anxious moments then and since.

This message comes to you from somewhere in England. I pray God it will be given to you on or about your tenth birthday. I hope also to be present when that is done. It shall be held in trust by your mother or someone equally concerned until that time.

Also I pray that the efforts of your daddy and his buddies will not have been in vain. That you will always be permitted to enjoy the great freedoms for which this war is being fought. It is not pleasant, but knowing that our efforts are to be for the good of our children makes it worth the hardships.

With this letter you will find a war bond of $2500 maturity value, and a list of names. A list of names to you, honey, buddies to me. Men of my company, who adopted you as their sweetheart when you came into the world. It is these men who bought you the bond as a remembrance of when they were soldiers with your daddy. The money values are in the current English denominations.

I shall ask your mother to obtain the bond with the money sent her and keep it with this letter, envelope, and list of names until such time as she sees fit go give it to you, Anna Mary.

You will never know the joy I knew when I received word that you had arrived. Suddenly the sun shone through the fog. The mud paths seemed paved with gold. The boys thought I had gone stir crazy or maybe slap happy. I guess I was a little daft.

I want you to know that God gave to you for a mother the finest woman of his creation. I pray that you will grow to be as fine a person as she. I ask that you follow her guidance and her teachings. I know how much you mean to her at the time I write this letter. Such a love can never be forgotten.

It is time that I close this short message to you. Should God decree that you never know your father I want you to have this sample of my handwriting. I want you to know and understand that with the help of God, He will spend his life trying to make you and your precious mother happy, and to provide for your needs and wants.

I place you now in the hands of God. May He care for you and love you. May He see fit that we shall see one another very soon and keep us together into eternity, ever as He gave us His son to seal our salvation.

Your loving dad,

Walter Schuette


Lt. Walter Schuette did make it home alive, and was able to read his letter to Anna Mary on her tenth birthday.

[1] Carroll, Andrew. War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars. New York: Scribner, 2001.


10 thoughts on “A Father’s War Letter: Memorial Day Feature

    1. I felt the same way the first time I read it! I can’t imagine what it must be like to give up those precious family moments to put your life on the line for your country…but I’m so glad these men are willing to do it!


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