A from Lt. Commander John J. Shea, USN, USS Wasp, to his son.
This is the first letter I have ever written directly to my little
son and I am thrilled to know that you can read it all by yourself.
If you miss some of the words, I'm sure it will be because I do not
write very plainly. Mother will help you in that case I am sure.
I was certainly glad to hear your voice over the long distance telephone.
It sounded as though I were right in the living room with you. You
sounded as though you missed your daddy very much. I miss you too,
more than anyone will ever know. It is too bad this
war could not have been delayed a few more years so that I could grow
up again with you and do with you all the things I planned to do when
you were old enough to go to school.
I thought how nice it would be for me to come home early in the afternoon
and play ball with you, and go mountain climbing and see the trees,
and brooks, and learn all about woodcraft, hunting, fishing, swimming,
and things like that. I suppose we must be brave and put these things
off for a little while.
When you are a little bigger you will know why your daddy is not home
so much any more. You know we have a big country and we have ideals
as to how people should live and enjoy the riches of it and how each
is born with equal rights to life, freedom, and
the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, there are some countries
in the world where they don't have these ideals, where a boy cannot
grow up to be what he wants to be with no limits on his opportunities
to be a great man, such as a great priest, statesman, doctor, soldier,
business man etc.
Because there are people and countries who want to change our nation,
its ideals, forms of government, and way of life, we must leave our
homes and families to fight. Fighting for the defense of our country,
ideals, homes, and honor is an honor and a duty which your daddy has
to do before he can come home to settle down with you and Mother.
When it is done, he is coming home to be with you always and forever.
So wait just a little while longer. I am afraid it will be more than
the two weeks you told me on the phone.
In the meantime, take good care of Mother. Be a good boy and grow
up to be a good young man. Study hard when you go to school. Be a
leader in everything good in life. Be a good Catholic, and you can't
help being a good American. Play fair always. Strive to win but if
you must lose, lose like a gentleman and a good sportsman. Don't ever
be a quitter either in sports or in your business or profession when
you grow up. Get all the education you can. Stay close to Mother and
follow her advice. Obey her in everything, no matter how you may at
times disagree. She knows what is best and will never let you down
or lead you away from the right and honorable things in life. If I
don't get back, you will have to be Mother's protector because you
will be the only one she has. You must grow up to take my place as
well as your own in her life and heart. Donít let her brood over me
nor waste herself on anyone not worthy of her or you.
Love your grandmother and granddad as long as they live. They too
will never let you down. Love your aunts and see them as often as
you can. Last of all, don't ever forget your daddy. Pray for him to
come back and if it is God's will that he does not, be the kind of
a boy and man your daddy wants you to be.
Thanks for the nice sweater and handkerchiefs and particularly for
the note and card. Write me very often and tell me everything.
Kiss Mother for me every night.
Goodbye for now.
With all my love and devotion for Mother and you,
Copyright 2002 The Trustees of Boston College