"I wish I were Milton, Shakespeare, or Cyrano to express my true love for you, but I don't think even they could find words to express my love for you. It is too real." (prewar letter from Bill Thomas to his future wife, Eleanor, September 28, 1936)
"Dearest Love" tells the story of William "Bill" Thomas's journey through World War II—his thoughts on the war, his feelings for his far-away family, and his desire to return home.
Bill Thomas was drafted into World War II by the U.S. Navy on September 1, 1943. Based mainly in the U.S., Bill was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for the last nine months of his service, which included the final weeks of the Battle of Okinawa.
Before he returned home to Pennsylvania on January 31, 1946, Bill wrote letters home nearly every day. These letters were often his only means of communicating with his wife, Eleanor Thomas, and their young daughter, Ruth, who was only eleven weeks old when he was drafted.
More than seventy years later, Bill's letters inspired his own grandson, Mohan William Singh Ahluwalia, to relive cherished memories—and expand his appreciation for the sacrifices his grandfather made.
Crafted with these letters and historical context provided by Mohan, this military and family memoir traces the connections between Bill as a soldier in the 1940s and the man—and grandfather—he would one day become.
While Bill's letters were intended for his wife Eleanor, this book is a letter for future generations. Despite war, sacrifice, and thousands of miles, love and family values persevered.