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World War I through the Eyes of a Mid-Missourian

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Enlisting

J H Pattrick Goes to France
hometown newspaper article

Telegram from Mother and Dad

Dear Mother and Dad
explaining decision

War Diary: with Pershing on the HMS Baltic

Letters from the Baltic

War Diary: London

War Diary: Arriving in France

Dear Mother and Dad
arriving in Paris

Mother and Dad
Mother and Dad
Melissa Whitmore and
William Robert Pattrick

Window Flag
Window Flag
Displayed in the Pattrick Home
During Hezzie's Tour of Duty

Read complete letter
(in pdf)

<< back to Enlisting

Dear Mother and Dad: Decision

(excerpt)

1324 L St., N. W.,
Washington, D. C.,
May 22, 1917

Dear Mother & Dad:
It is almost midnight and I have just received your dear message and have just finished sending you a night letter which will explain more in detail than my first one.

I feel much better now since I have heard from you and finally made the decision, altho it has certainly been one trying day of my life. Some time ago I felt that this sort of a position was what I was best fitted for and I have certainly let nothing go unturned in getting it, and now as it is open I think the only wise thing to do is to accept it.

While I haven't said much about it, I have given each and every one of your suggestions just as much thought as any of the many I have been working on. It wouldn't look right for me to try to get out by pretending to farm- they are going to see to it that no one is going to be exempt unless they have a mighty mighty good reason. It's is too late to get in as an officer now and as sure as I live I believe I would be included in the draft and that would be the very worst thing under the sun that can happen to anyone.

The more I have thought over it and talked with such men as the Y.M.C.A. secretaries, deacons in our church, and everybody in general, the more I am convinced that I am doing the right thing. When they begin to draft them in a few weeks now it is going to be take most trying time this country aver saw and when that does happen I think we will look back on my decision today as a very wise and good one. By taking this now I need never have any fear of ever having to serve in the trenches and still I will not be squirming out of my duty and I can ever look everyone in the eye and say that I did my duty. . . .

You will never know how much I appreciated the telegram which you sent tonight. I know how much it must have cost you in heart throbs and tears and God forgive me for what anxiety and worry it has caused you but Heaven knows I have tried to do my duty and I hope you will think it is for the best. Had you said in your telegram not to go I would not have decided to go but in the days to come I feel that we will all find it was the best thing to do. . . .

It is late and I must close, but I will write more tomorrow and every day until I leave and just as often as I can thereafter. Tomorrow I will write about other matters, such as mail, etc., after I get the information myself. It is quite late so I must close.

Your loving son,

Hezzie signature

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A Joint Exhibit
of the
University of Missouri
Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia
and the University of Missouri-Columbia
Museum of Anthropology

Acknowledgments and World War I Links