In honor of Memorial Day, I’m posting entries from my grandfather’s diary. The following is one week out of a diary my grandfather, Forrest Freeman French, kept during World War II.
These written words have special meaning to me because I never got to meet my mother’s beloved father. Through his writing, during WWII, I get to know him.
Soldiers were told not supposed to keep a journal but he did. The passages are short and brief but capture a time in his life I could never imagine. The sacrifice of so many in order for us to live free. A young Texas Farm boy grows up fast on the other side of the world in Okinawa.
I share these to honor all the men and women that stepped forward in the hardest times to fight for a way of life we can easily take for granted.
On this Memorial Day may you take a moment to honor and remember all the ones that didn’t make it home.
Next Monday I’ll post the second week.
May 4, 1945
Was assigned to the 7th Div. Co. “K” 184th Infantry. They are up on the lines now. We’ll be carried as far as possible by truck then will have to march the rest of the way.
May 5, 1945
Pushed off before dawn to join my outfit. We held services before we left. Am now just behind the lines. Saw my first dead G.I.s. Three of them dead for three days. Can’t get to them. Sure gave me the shivers. Have seen dead enemy soldiers all along the way. They are paying heavy. Not heavy enough to suit me.
May 6, 1945
Air raids are every night and sometimes more than once. Have seen quite a few shot down. Today is the first day on the lines for me. We didn’t shove off as everyone needs to get settled.
May 7, 1945
Spent my first night on the lines. Didn’t get any sleep as they are giving us hell. Some of the men that came in with me got it last night. I don’t think they even know what hit them. This is a living hell.
May 8, 1945
Made my first kill today. He was quite close. Slipped up during the night. Don’t feel much different than before except maybe a little more satisfied.
May 9, 1945
Rumor is that we will be relieved tomorrow and go back for ten days rest. We need it as nearly half of the company has been wounded or killed. We are at a place called Conico Peak. Here is where we ran into most of the trouble. Sure hope the rumor is true for we need a rest.
May 10, 1945
I thank God with all my heart for we were relieved this morning and am now waiting for trucks to take us about ten miles behind the lines. I feel sorry for the boys in the 96th Div. They relieved us and in for all out hell at Conico Peak.