This is the thirteenth of 87 letters exchanged during World War II between Nicholas Salvatore and Elizabeth Galloway.
For more see Nicholas and Elizabeth.

Elderly woman and a casket amid destruction

December 6, 1943

Italy

Elizabeth –

If we were trying to do anything other than traverse this terrain with thousands of tons of equipment while being shot at, the land would be full of undeniable beauty. No doubt the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Count on humans to turn it into something brutal and ugly. I suppose the land, like everything else, is just a mirror of our thoughts.

Is everything okay back there? The mail has been coming regularly and I double check every day for a letter. I don’t remember all of what I said in my last few letters – if I said something wrong please forget it and drop me a line, will you?

How things can change in an hour, huh? Let alone a couple of weeks. All the men laughed at me at first – rightly so, I suppose – but they stopped after the first one stepped on a mine. I patched him up good. It was as if I was watching myself do it, or doing it in a dream. It’s become instinct. I guess all that training was worthwhile in the end. If only they could train a man not to get sick after seeing the insides of another man.

Every year my grandma grows a small garden of tomatoes, peppers and whatever else she can get her hands on. I keep thinking about that garden. To sit in it alone, watching the vegetables grow, being able to see them get bigger. It’s a nice dream.

Take care,

Nicholas

Next letter – December 18, 1943

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