For those who ventured into the howling dark...
June 6th, 1944, is a day that the Western nations hold sacred - or at least, those of them with the good sense and wit to remember what it stands for - and with very good reason.
Thank you so much for your letter received some time ago when I was in hospital. As you see, I am now out, thank goodness, and am more or less all right again. I have still a bit of a hole in my arm but nothing to speak of. I must say I was terribly lucky as the bit of shrapnel missed everything important. It went in about four inches below my shoulder, rather on the inside of my arm, and stopped just below the surface on the outside of the arm towards the back of it. As you say, it was a party which I wouldn't have missed for anything, but even though I wasn't in it for 48 hours, and for my lot the first part, was, from all accounts, a picnic, compared with the time they had after I left. It all seems rather like a particularly bad dream looking back on it.
The clearest and most obvious sign that a civilisation is approaching its richly deserved destruction can be seen when it fails to acknowledge those who fought, bled, and died for it. No society, no matter how rich or free or strong, will stay that way if it fails to give respect to those who gave their all in war so that their descendants could live in peace.
It is only through giving that respect, acknowledging those sacrifices, and thereby inspiring future generations of men to understand that "the noblest fate a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his loved home and war's desolation", that a free society remains so.
It has become trite and gauche to utter the words, "Freedom is not free". But it remains true nonetheless, and no amount of fashionable self-loathing can change this. Freedom - this celestial, Divinely-ordained gift given to you and me - requires many, far too many, of us to pay its price. That is how it must be - for ultimate cost is and must always be traded for perfect value.