If only we both made it home
I came by your outfit one day somewhere above Pyongyang, but you had gone off somewhere and I couldn’t wait for you to get back. Now I wish I had. The next thing I heard you had been captured. I was awfully worried because I had heard stories of how they treated their prisoners. We found a mass grave in Taejon and there were about forty GI’s among the thousands of civilian dead — murdered by the North Koreans.
After I got home I thought about you a lot and wondered if you would survive until the war ended. When they had the prisoner exchanges I watched for your name every night but it never came up. Then one day I found a list of Korean War casualties and I learned that you had died soon after you were taken prisoner.
You might be interested to know that I named one of my sons after you. I gave him your middle name, Edward.
I had your name put on the list at the Korean War Memorial when it opened up. I knew you would be pleased.
I still remember your serial number. When I was on orders to ship out for Korea and you came back to Tokyo General with that knee wound, you gave me your class A pass to sneak off post.
A while back I saw something on the Internet asking about you. It was from your nephew. I replied and talked to him on the phone and wrote e-mails. I sent him some information and he acted like he would like to keep writing but then I never heard from him again.
I think of you often and I wish we could both have made it home and kept our friendship going all through our lives. Maybe we could have visited back and forth and gotten to know each other’s wives and kids. That would have been great. I think of you a lot and sometimes I cry, thinking of all the guys like you who didn’t come back. I really feel guilty for leaving before it was over and sometimes just for living through it.
I hope you are able to read this letter. I know it has done me a lot of good writing it. I feel much better now.
So long Buddy, I’ll see you soon.
— Dillon Staas, Lima