December 1, 2010

The War Is Over

American Red Cross Relief Station
Grand Central Terminal
4 p.m. November 7

Dear Father and Mother,

New York has gone mad -- absolutely crazy -- we got complimentary tickets to the Strand, and when we came out the streets were in an uproar. It has started before we went in, but I couldn't imagine anything like it. Now there isn't a streetcar running for blocks each way from Times Square. The streets are covered with streamers and pamphlets and sheet music -- anything at all to throw from the skyscrapers. Traffic is jammed -- it took us an hour to get the ten blocks from the corner of 47th and Broadway to here, and there are more flags than I ever saw. Everybody has a flag and a whistle or tin pan -- something to make noise with. Men and women alike are losing their hats and don't seem to care at all. We were kissed by young girls and old women and men nearly shake the hands off every man in uniform. A funny thing is that so many of the older men and women are crying, although they are laughing at the same time.

One of the biggest demonstrations is right under a life-size dummy of the Kaiser hanging by its neck, with a sign "Bad Bill has gone to hell." Funny they should take on so over a simple sign like that.

I wish I could describe the things I see but I can't -- to tell the truth, I guess I'm somewhat excited myself.

The only things that get through the crowd are ambulances, and there is always an ambulance to be heard. I'll bet there will be many a hurt person tonight.

Armstrong (one of the fellows from California) has a date tonight to dine with Theda and Lara Bara -- they are to send their car down to get him. Some class isn't it? The fellows left in our bunch are a good lot. There are three of us together tonight. The fellows who haven't seen service and are in uniform are sure a glum lot -- we certainly will be ashamed to come home and say we stayed in training camp all during the war.

Can't sit still long enough to write much. I'm glad I didn't pass the listeners exam, for if I had I wouldn't be in New York on the day the war practically stopped. I don't know whether people down there got the news early enough today to celebrate or not, but N.Y. started at one o'clock when the first extra came out. We'd heard rumors that it was over at 10 in the morning though!

Had my picture made this morning -- wouldn't have been in a hurry to do it if I'd known what was coming.

Hope I get to see sea duty before I go home.

Will write from camp tomorrow -- wish I didn't have to report in tomorrow morning though.

Love to all of you,

(Postmarked New York, New York, November 9, 1918, 6 p.m.)

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