72 years ago today, Darrel “Happy” Neil of the 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, wrote home. Born in 1922 in Mulberry, Kansas, Neil, at the age of 20, married Wilma Harvey. Four months later, he was shipped overseas.
May 23, 1944
Dear Mom & Dad,
I have some spare time so I will drop you a line. I haven’t gotten any mail for the last three days. I don’t know what the hold up is. But I’ll get a letter to-morrow I hope.
I have been out all day. I didn’t do much but I’ve completed another day. The days seem so long and lonesome. I guess it is because I am always thinking of the good old U.S. I know how good the states looked to Dad after the last war. The American flag means a whole lot to me. I am glad that when I do come home I can say I have a share in it. That is more than some people can say. I hope my son doesn’t ever have to go through what I have and will go through. I am going to have a son when I come back home. That’s what I am fighting for. It may be a girl but I’ll think as much of a Daughter as I would a son.
I have been a Pfc. for more than a year now. But there are no openings so there isn’t much use of hoping to make a rating. But I’ll be satisfied if I can do my Job.
Well I’ll have to say “cherries.” I guess Dad knows what that means. Good nite and God Bless all of you.
Lots of Love & Kisses
Darrel “Happy’ Neil was killed in action on July 7, 1944, in France. In her final letter, his mother wrote, “You are still my little boy. Although you are 22.” The letter was returned to the family unopened, the word “Deceased” stamped on the envelope.
Letter via The National WWII Museum