In 1944, my father, John Dvorsak Sr., was a young man serving in the U.S. Army during World War II and stationed in Germany. As Christmas was fast approaching, he sent a Christmas card to his mom, dad and eight siblings.
My grandmother loved to bake, so the appropriate place to tuck away the special greeting card was in her favorite cookbook. She would have easy access to the letter and would be able to feel the love my father had for his family while he was serving in Europe.
Years later, after my grandmother had passed away, my aunt opened that magical cookbook and found the Christmas card that my father had written to all of them, and she was flooded with wonderful childhood memories. She gave the card to my father, which he shared with my two sisters, brother and myself.
After Dad passed away on Nov. 2, 2008, at the age of 85, the card resurfaced while we were going through his most prized possessions. This Christmas card will be one treasure I will always cherish.
The inside of the card read:
Dear mom and all:
I picked some cards up at the P.X. while I was back of the lines resting so I'm sending you another one.
Truthfully mom, I am now in a foxhole writing and praying at the same time. It's been pretty rugged and I'd give anything to be home now. I'm alright and hope that all of you are well. One surely sees a lot on the battle field and things that he'll never forget.
Well, mom, I'll again wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I hope that I can be home with all of you next Christmas.
Give my regards to all.
Love to all,
I realized what a hero my father was, along with all of the men and women who put their lives on the line for all of us and our country. The card is a symbol of the sacrifices made by all members of our military, and of the lives that were lost in service defending our country.
My father was fortunate to return home to his family and loved ones. During a battle with the German infantry, a mortar shell exploded near him, sending shrapnel flying. Many pieces of metal hit my father's leg.
He was transported to England to recover and afterward was sent back to the front lines and continued to serve until the war ended. While my dad received a Purple Heart and was able to return home, many soldiers lost their lives or came home without limbs.
Many honorable men and women did not survive this or other wars. Families were left with pain, heavy hearts and emptiness for their loved ones forever.
It is important to give family members left behind a special thank you. They remain at home caring for their families while trying to deal with their loved one fighting to protect us and not knowing if they will ever come back home or celebrate another holiday together.
Thanks to all of these special men and woman who are true heroes showing us their selflessness, dedication and bravery for the love of their country and for helping to maintain our freedom.
May you have a safe return home, and may you have a blessed holiday season!
Pamela Tabone of Slovan, Washington County, a client service representative, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.