“My Dear Mother, I am about to go into battle and have instructed the company clerk to send you this letter in case I become a casualty, hence, the receipt of this letter by you will indicate that I am either with God or a prisoner. Since I will never become a prisoner of the Hun if I remain conscious and able to fight, it is doubtful if I will ever be an inmate of a German prison camp.
Do not grieve that I am among the missing, but rejoice that you have given a son in sacrifice to make the greatest military caste of all time lay down the sword; to save civilization, and to make the world safe for democracy.
I desire that you view the matter in the light and spirit of the Spartan mothers of old, who, when their sons went forth to battle for freedom and their native land, said to their sons: ‘Either come home proudly bearing your shield before you or upon it.’ War was absolutely necessary on the part of my country, and although I was 34 years old and nobody expected me to go, yet someone had to go. Some must make the sacrifice, some mother most lose her son.
In the light of these facts, and knowing our country’s great need, I volunteered and have never for one moment regretted my decision, and I will not. Life is not the highest boon of existence. There are ideals that are superhuman, interests greater than life itself, for which it is worth fighting, suffering, and dying.
If possible after the war, I would like for my remains to be brought to America and interred at White Hall. I have provided well for your support, as I have a $10,000 insurance policy with the government. Good-bye mother. I will see you in the next world. You may know I died fighting for you, my country, and all that life holds dear. Your Son, Adrian”
– Lt. Adrian C. Edwards, AEF, May 1918, France.
Lieutenant Edwards would be killed in action a short while after he wrote this letter.
As we always say here at Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.