My Grandfather’s most poignant letter.
Date May 11, 1919
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
Army of Occupation
I will now try and write you a few lines as May 11th is Mothers day and we all feel it our duty to observe it as we did last year.
It seems to me when I think back over the time that has past since last “Mothers day,” that an experience of a whole life time has been crowded into a year.
While a year ago saw us at the front and geting a little taste of war, still as one might say we were first recruits getting our first training. At that time we had not much idea of what hardships we were to endure later, of the long marches over strange roads at night, while during the day we were forced to stay hid in the woods to keep out of sight of the enemy Airoplanes and get what sleep we could. Then we did not quite realize in full of the awfull nights at the front where everything seemed to be ablaze with the fire of Machine guns and rifles and the scream of shells flying thru the air and the terrible explosions that tore men to pieces, of the cries and moaning of the wounded and of countless hardships and sufferings which it is allmost impossible to discribe and can never be realized except by being there. All this has made an impresion on me that I never will forget.
June 5 will be eighteen months since I left the United States and dureing this time it seems as though many years have been crowded in.
Now that it is over and we are all looking forward to the time when we will be home and free, a month seems as if a year. I for one will sure appriciate home as never befor. The latest news out here is that we start home in June and we sure are all hopeing it is true. Germany and France and the rest of Europe I guess are all right for those that like to live here, but it is too far from America for me. I expect Joe [cousin] is home by this time. I hope he is having a good time, and if we start home next month expect I will be home by the middle of the summer. Well I guess this is about all for this time with love and best wishes to all I am your Son
Robert E Schalles
1st Amb. Co. 2nd Div.
Army of Occupation