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Letter from Claire Brooks, Renville Star Farmer, 11-14-1918

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Claire E. Brooks
June 21, 1896 – January 1966
Served World War I May 1917 – October 1919
Served World War II January 1941 – October 1944

Somewhere in France, Sept. 25th, 1918

Dear Friends:

Well just having received a batch of mail it makes me feel so darned glad that I am over here that I would not trade my place for anything. And let me tell you that you people over there don’t know what real patriotism, real love of country is. You can’t realize what the good old U.S. stands for and means to the human race until you get a good perspective.

When I think of New York, Chicago, the Twin Cities and Renville and all the wonderful cities, and then the wonderful cause that the American millions are fighting for, giving their lives for. Why the United States flag, the star spangled banner means more to one of the United States boys than anything in this world. I believe I would rather be hanged for murder than be back in the United States in a slacker’s boots, as I consider it an honor to be allowed to be over here fighting or working for my country, and I think that both the people in Europe and the United States have woke up and really understand what the word “United States of America” really means. Having seen some of the Americans fighting and seen some hiking, I know what war is. I picked up a couple of poems and they sure are true as anything could be, as they give all the real meaning of war.

Now people you don’t know what hell is on earth. You have never gone there, and I am sure if you had, and they came out with Liberty Bonds, War Saving Stamps, Red Cross, Y.M.C.A. or any of the many other organizations came out and ask a few million dollars, everyone of you would be fighting to get close enough so you could buy them, and I am sure they would be nobody back there if he could or would go over and into hell once, for you would come out of hell with a smile but you would not hesitate about money in helping our noble boys.

Your friend, Claire E. Brooks, 17 F.A.

Editor’s Note: The flag on Mr. Brooks’ casket in January 1966 was one which had been on his father’s casket. His father, Nels Brooks, was a veteran of the Civil War.