Unlike todays soldiers abroad with internet hook-ups, video chatting and email, in wars of past, paper, pencil and mailed packages were the links to home. I've found a few blogs that have posted letters from WWI and WWII veterans. They are interesting reading.
WWI: Experiences of an English Soldier is a series of letters from an English Soldier writing home to his brother, wife and other family members. It is an awesome collection of letters and notes regarding WWI. Eventually a book was created from the blog.
Here's one from privateletters.net, the letters of US Private Melvin Johnson.
May 18, 1944
Got a letter from you today; dated May 1st and May 3rd. I expect to hear from you more often now. It certainly revived my spirits to get some mail - especially from you. I'll build my letter around some of the topics mentioned in yours.
About spring fever - it's too cold for that here. The only thing that's warm in this country is the sun and it's Brrrrr. Did I tell you we sleep in tents? But we sleep warm. Of course it's a bit rough getting out of that warm bed in the morning.
About that book "Nana". The reason I want it is that I've partly read it and want to finish it. It doesn't seem to me to be such an improper book as you intimate. It's more of a social case study than anything else. Whether I will find time to read it or not is an open question. I may or I may not have the time.
Glad Elaine likes to be out of doors. Like to see her tottling about on the lawn. Bet she goes down on her sitter every now and then. Do you suppose Tony is a little on the outs with you and didn't take you to town just to be spiteful? I suppose it's quite a problem to you to know what to do this summer. Also whether to teach next year or not. I'll leave those problems to you. I don't want you to over-tax yourself. And take good care of the baby.
What's the present bond balance? You never said whether you got that bond I sent you or not? It's possible too that I may send a little money home now and then. No promises of course, but if I do, put it in bonds or use as you see fit. Never mind the prescription for glasses. I think the reading may be taken from the broken lens. I nevr thought of that before.
Read a newspaper article the other day describing the tense atmosphere of invasion expectancy that prevails everywhere in America. Of such things I'm not allowed to say a thing.
Thanks a lot for your generous attitude toward me in your plans for the future. I've some ideas regarding a book cabinet and a record album cabinet too. You know, we used to have a lot of fun together. I don't think we sufficiently appreciated those Sundays and Saturday afternoons. Sleeping late, eating a breakfast of what you wanted to eat, reading, and listening to the radio. You know, one thing I miss a lot is, music. There's little opportunity of hearing the music you like here. Even then it wouldn't be like hearing it at home. You know, I'm thinking a lot about that translator position in the Maritime Service. Maybe a job like that would give us a little more free time and a chance to take a vacation once in a while. We can go to California or Colorado or some such thing. Well, some day I believe all our dreams will come true.
Lots of love, Melvin