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Subject: Bought a book from Amazon, a letter from a Vet falls out of it. rss

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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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I got a book in the mail that I ordered form Amazon today about the 517th Parachute Combat Team in WWII (By Gerald Astor). When I first opened the package, I noticed there was a little green page book mark (The kind that clips over the page). I thought it was nice that the seller included it but took it off as it ends up leaving an indentation on the page.

Then a piece of paper fell out, I assumed it was the invoice for the sale but noticed it was on line paper. I opened it up, much to my surprise a letter from a father to his daughter telling how this book was about his Regiment in WWII and even included a story of his that had been taken from his interviews with the author, much to the veterans surprise as he said "...when there are many more episodes experienced by many, many soldiers that are more worthy." Turns out this is spoken like a true hero.

The letter said what page his story started and that a bookmark was to denote this. I promptly put the book mark back and read his account. He and a buddy were separated behind enemy lines in Le May, fought their way back during which they scouted and avoided a large German forward position, they finally found a French boy who pointed them in the direction of a group British paratroopers, they banded together and assaulted the German forward position despite being outnumbered, and cleared the position.

The letter was written in 2001, the books front cover was signed as well. Why? Why would anyone give this to a thrift store to sell on Amazon? I paid 2 cents for this book. I understand that it is possible that the daughter was very old and passed in the last 12 years. Why would none of her children care about this? To keep it, and preserve it? A families memory deserves to be remembered.

Now that it is in my hands, I am going to laminate the letter to preserve it, and the bookmark is not going to leave that page again, as it was the vet himself who put it there. The book and the letter will be kept together and I wont be selling them, ever. This vets memory will not die.

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Damo
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It's possible that whomever thrifted the book simply didn't know. The important thing is that now you do.
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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Damjon wrote:
It's possible that whomever thrifted the book simply didn't know. The important thing is that now you do.


This is a very distinct possibility. I suppose Ive been slightly jaded by my own experience with my Grandfather. My Mom and I are the only two that visit his grave when we are in Indiana, my Uncle and cousins live right there and they along with my Dad refuse to. Why I dont know, he wasnt abusive at all, treated everyone as they should be, with respect and love. I got all of his WWII things the rest didnt care about that part of his effects. My Mom and I make it a point to go and put a flag on his grave the every few years we are up there.

Perhaps it would be better if I assumed the best, that it was an oversight and not malicious.
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Dan Long
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Thank you for keeping this American Hero's legacy alive and sharing it with us!
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Christopher Taylor
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The author of the letter was in the news last year:

http://www.northwestmilitary.com/news/veterans/2012/03/Gig-H...

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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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anarchy wrote:
The author of the letter was in the news last year:

http://www.northwestmilitary.com/news/veterans/2012/03/Gig-H...



I found that article while I was searching for a picture of him. I knew I should call him and at least offer the book and letter back.

I rang him up and spoke with him, extremely nice guy, and still sharp. He explained to me that he was almost 92 now, 91.9 as he called it. He wasnt too sure what Amazon was/is or how the book ended up with me but was surprised none the less. He said I could keep the original letter after I told him what I planned to do with it. (I ordered 2 patches one of the 517th and one for the 596th Engineer Company which he belonged to). I laminated the letter, and am going to put the patches on either side of the letter in a frame.)

He told me he didnt realize he was famous but that it was nice to hear someone interested in what they did. He was however, simply doing his job.

He just asked for a copy of the letter, told me I could keep the original and the book so I got his address and told him I would send him a copy of the letter and a picture of the frame and such with the patches when it was complete.

The news on how it got to Amazon is bitter sweet, I think it was a sin of ignorance rather than malicious (which is the good part). His daughter is a massive stroke victim, he said she is sadly here in name only. Her husband takes care of her at their home. She has been this way for the last 5 years, he wasnt sure how it got sold, but I had the idea that perhaps to make room for the medical equipment they moved/boxed some things up and then sold them or sent them to goodwill which in turn got the book to an Amazon seller. With the daughter unable to write or communicate, perhaps her husband just wasnt aware or forgot with the overwhelming amount of grief he had to have been experiencing.

He said he looks forward to hearing from me and getting my letter and pictures. Really neat guy.

PS Good news too, his jump wings were indeed returned to him.
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Damo
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Nicely done.
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Brian Morris
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History isn't about what happened where and at what time. It's about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. History becomes more real to us when we can personally connect with it through the people who experienced it. This letter to you is very much your own personal memorial. The letter helps you and now all of us remember this man, his experience and sacrifice at this important moment in history. I'm glad to see it is in the hands of someone who appreciates it's real meaning.
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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mrbeankc wrote:
History isn't about what happened where and at what time. It's about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. History becomes more real to us when we can personally connect with it through the people who experienced it. This letter to you is very much your own personal memorial. The letter helps you and now all of us remember this man, his experience and sacrifice at this important moment in history. I'm glad to see it is in the hands of someone who appreciates it's real meaning.


That was beautifully put Brian. Thank you.
 
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