A Dead Soldier's Farewell

judgeJudge Jack Coulter

Two weeks before he was killed, Andre Fallwell wrote to his dear friend, Jack Coulter, now a judge of the Circuit Court of the City of Roanoke. "If perchance we never meet again," wrote Andre Fallwell in his last letter to his friend, and his words carry a solemn message for all of us, "I want you to think of me as part of all the things we've both given up - part of all the gaiety and frivolity of American life as well as part of its earnestness, its work and its struggle for betterment. I am a part of it all -I feel and live that part to its utmost every day- whether it measures up to the standards it should or not.

"As for the world back home, I can only say that no one there can imagine what war really is without seeing it first- hand. For that reason we soldiers laugh at the trivial things which throw jams into our country's war production and gov- ernmental mechanisms. Those who have good foresight and sound opinions can appreciate the soldier's view, but can they honestly feel it - enough until it hurts? When I find myself without something which means loss of comfort or loss of security - a thing of necessity -I can't help thinking that this probably could have been avoided if there had been fewer strikes and more people giving as much on the homefront as soldiers give on the warfront.

"It is hard to make people realize that to deserve and enjoy freedom it must be won, not through demands on the Government but by sacrifices for it. It is really and literally the life blood of a relative few that is maintaining our country's 4 place as a free Nation in this world. It is a great price to pay, but not as great as it might have been.

"After experiencing a few battles, the combat infantryman wants to get out of it all. He thinks he has done his part and that it is now another's turn to risk his life. This will always be one of the inequalities of war - but try to tell that to one of them! I believe, as they do, that no one group should be made to carryall of the burden, but I, too, have experienced their trials and fears and I can still say with a clear conscience that I am where I belong, because I am where the need is greatest and doing that for which I have been trained.

"As for what I am fighting for, it is very simple. Most sol- diers will say it's 'to get back home' and that they want things to 'be like they left them.' As for me, I'm fighting to get back home, too - but I want it to be a better and ever improving America. There are so many things yetto be done. I'm fighting for the right to help do them and to be able to attempt to do them in the way I want, not along lines dictated by 'the power of the state' or some crazy fool like Hitler. I guess the standard phrase will cover most opinions - 'fighting for freedom' - but to me that isn't just three beautiful and often misquoted words. To me it is something real and alive - it is for this intricate part of me that I am fighting. I want to live in a com- munity where with a clear conscience I can say not only 'I am free' but 'we are free,' and mean it in such a way that everyone is included, regardless of racial, social, or political position."