Combat Medic Memoirs: Personal World War II Writings and Pictures
AbeBooks Seller Since July 20, 1998Quantity Available: 1
AbeBooks Seller Since July 20, 1998Quantity Available: 1
About this Item
Title: Combat Medic Memoirs: Personal World War II ...
Publisher: Rennas Productions, Clemson, South Carolina, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 1995
Binding: Soft cover
Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket as Issued
Signed: Signature of Author
Edition: First Edition
About this title
The fact that Word War II is now fifty years in the past has stimulated a great deal of interest. From the fiftieth anniversary of its outbreak through the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain, of Pearl Harbor, of D-Day, and of the whole series of such anniversaries, this parade has continued into 1995. Helping to mark the latter anniversary of the war's end is Richard Lee Sanner's book, Combat Medic Memoirs, published this year. In the book, the author's experiences during the final year of the war in Europe, in which he earned a Bronze Star Medal, with an Oak-Leaf Cluster, and a Purple Heart, are told in his diary, letters to his family and friends back home, and over three hundred fifty photographs he shot and kept. Sanner, born and reared in a small Iowa farming community to a closely- knit family of small business owners, experienced during World War II what several million other young American men did. Their lives were interrupted and changed forever by the war to keep Nazi Germany, possibly the most evil regime in history, and its Axis allies, Italy and Japan, from their goal of dominating and enslaving the world. Sanner recognized during the war the importance of what was happening. On March 21, 1944, about the time he joined the U.S. Army's 44th Infantry Division at Camp Polk in Louisiana, he wrote to his parents, asking them to save his letters so that he "could thereby have a diary for after the war." Sanner's book is valuable for anyone interested in what day-to-day life was like for American soldiers, from the moment they were inducted into the armed services through the war to their discharge. His extensive letters and diary entries particularly show the importance to the American soldier of his family back home. From his parents and other family members in Iowa, Sanner received not only weekly letters, but also packages containing newspapers, magazines, playing cards, photography supplies, and food. On one occasion, he wrote his parents, thanking them for sending him cookies, stationery, and candy, noting, "I do believe the army lives on its stomach." In October 1944, after having landed in France, Sanner already looked for the arrival of a "Christmas box" from home. Other letters were "heart to heart" matters, such as the one in which he told his parents: "Please forgive (but not forget) these outspoken words. I just hope they will help us to know each other better." Although U.S. army censors edited many of the letters, the reader still received from them a sense of the emotions, including the worries and concerns, felt by the young Sanner as he moved with his medical unit through Normandy and often deadly combat in Alsace-Lorraine, southern Germany, and finally, Austria. Despite the perilous situations he faced, some in which he saw his friends die, Sanner always reassured his family of his safety and happiness. Writing on November 26, 1944, after he attended a church mass in France, he admitted that "[a]t times I have prayed more, more earnestly, and really needed to." However, four days later, he ended a letter with a refrain of the type that appeared repeatedly in his writings: "I am fine and in good spirits. We are certainly lucky to be situated the way we are." From Sanner's introduction, the letters, and his explanations of the letters interspersed throughout the book, the reader understands how much he and his fellow soldiers relied on the friendship of one another to help them endure the ordeals they did. Only death could sever that bond which, tragically, it often did. Sanner, like the others who survived the war, was grateful for the chance to live on. Even after the fighting in Europe ended in May 1945, Sanner's unit spent the ensuing summer "sweating it out," worrying about the prospect of also having to fight-and possibly die-in the Pacific theater. He would surely agree with the remark of another veteran who had lived through the struggle: "Those who died never had a chance to have a family, have children, to enjoy America like we did." The war matured Sanner and the millions of other young soldiers very quickly, which doubtless contributed to their generation's many contributions to postwar America's life and culture. Richard Sanner's book of letters and photographs reminds us all of these important events in American history.
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