Ryan A. Hittle

Per. 2 April 7, 2003Dear James,How are things at home? I’m hoping everything is going O.K. Ikeep thinking of what it must be like back at home and how things havechanged.

It must be very difficult for my family to think of me being outhere. I can not imagine what they are feeling and all I ask from you isthat you keep watch over them, for me, if you could.You can’t imagine the horrors I go through everyday. Horrors noman should ever have to face in this life time or any other for thatmatter.

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I have to stay in this god forsaken trench all day and night withalmost no sleep and if I do it’s a light sleep for fear of an enemy sneakattack on the trench or the never ceasing sound of shelling of no mansland. There is almost no food here and some of the men have even startedkilling the rats that infest our trenches and eating them for food. I havenot sunk to that level yet but I’m not sure how much longer I can gowithout something to eat.I write this letter today with fear that I could die any dayjust as easy as that.

I fear every single day that a bomb could land nextto me and end my life or that if I become a little too careless one day andstick my head up a little to far over the trench’s edge that a sniper willtake my life without even so much as blinking an eye at the thought of it.There are many things that have compiled my fear. For instance we wereunder heavy artillery fire three days ago when one of the squad members,who was also a friend of mine, was killed by a shell no less then fiftyfeet from me. And what did they do about his dead body? Nothing! They lethim lay there like he was nobody. So yesterday I took out my shovel andgave him a proper burial or as best as I could given the current situation.And this doesn’t just happen to me there are bodies everywhere that no onecares about and just leaves to rot in the mud.

They just don’t realize thateveryone out here is someone’s son, brother, or husband.I guess I should get back to my post now. I will write againsoon. Keep everyone’s head up and pray for me and know that I will be homesoon.

Send my love to everyone back home. Sincerely,