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Generations of war letters brought to life in Patriots Point performance Thursday

War Letters (WCIV)

One by one, letters from soldiers were brought to life Thursday night at Patriots Point.

Each letter was collected by Andrew Carroll, one of the founding directors of the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University.

Carroll’s home burned when he was in college; his childhood memories became ashes. It sparked his desire to begin collecting letters.

“I just felt like we were losing something,” Carroll said.

Each letter is from a different soldier, a different war.

The thin pieces of paper tell stories of survival.

Carroll describes one letter that survived a bullet hole.

“He puts it in his ruck sack and moments later, he’s shot through the back and that’s the bullet hole," Carroll says, showing the letter. "Fortunately he survived.”

As did the letter, and many others that endured journeys almost as harrowing as those of the soldiers that wrote and carried them.

In the years of the early wars, there was no postal service.

“You would give it to a friend that was heading in that direction, and they would give it to them,” Carroll said of how letters were passed along to get to their destinations.

Through song, narrators read words written by former slaves, women, and love sick men in Thursday's show at Patriots Point.

The musical was written and produced by Patriots Point. Stage Director, Brad Moranz, said this one night was six months in the making.

“If you came to this show, you are at a very special event,” Moranz said.

Through its creation, Moranz said he learned many lessons.

“It’s been an incredible education for me because I’m not a veteran and in the research of doing this show, I learned just why we should honor veterans, what they’ve done for us, what they continue to do, and how much of our respect and thanks they deserve,” said Moranz.

To learn more about the war letters, CLICK HERE.

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