Posted by: SJS | July 7, 2016

A Nation’s Gratitude

A Nation's Gratitude

In looking through the research file I’ve assembled on my father’s WWII service, I came upon this letter he received from President Harry Truman when he left the USN and received his honorable discharge in 1946.  Yes, it is what we would today call a “form letter” but its simple elegance, dignified praise, and the straightforward request to continued service as a private citizen are overflowing with significance, respect, and a humble sincerity.

This letter meant a great deal to my father.  After his death, I found it enclosed in a clear plastic document holder at the bottom of a box filled with other important papers.  At the top of the letter are his USN service number and his name in that familiar typewritten script that now seems so quaint and old-fashioned.

In less than 100 words, President Truman conveyed the gratitude and admiration of a nation to its men and women who rose to the challenge and “undertook the most severe task one can be called upon to perform.”  It’s hard to imagine any other words that could    have expressed that gratitude any better.


  1. This is a treasure your family will cherish for a very long time!!

    • Thanks, GP. Reading those words of President Truman made me so proud of all that our fathers accomplished during WWII.

  2. How wonderful!

    • Thanks for your continued support and encouragement–it really means a lot.

      • My pleasure!

  3. I cannot imagine the pride he carried with him. That letter is more than that. It exudes honor and gratitude, missing in our society as of late.

    • Yes, I agree. Reading the letter again filled me with a sense of pride on behalf of my father and all who served with him on the PT boats. Thanks so much for your comment.

  4. This is a wonderful letter, President Truman would have understood those words too having served himself. To me there is nothing quaint or cynical about why such a letter is written nor why it is treasured. The Presidency still means something and the sacrifice of our servicemen and women does even more so.

  5. Lloyd, I agree completely. Thanks so much for your continued support. Steve

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