A LETTER HOME
© 1997 By David Ian
Honoring members of the Armed Services, past and present
SL is the interior of a home with sparse furnishings, perhaps a hat rack to suggest an entrance hall that WOMAN is coming in from the outside. A chair for WOMAN to sit upon. SR needs to suggest the front line of the Korean War. Perhaps a camouflage tarp or netting; SOLDIER can be sitting on an ammunition box using the back of his helmet for writing, or any other war surplus item available.
WOMAN'S props include letters, keys, purse, dog tags; SOLDIER will need pen, something appropriate to sit upon and something to write upon as suggested above.
A soldier’s mother who lost her husband in the Second World War just receives news of her son’s death in the Korean War. She finds solace in her son’s last letter, who, just before dying, shares with his mother a reconciliation with his late father.
(As first performed for Patriotic Sunday at Christian Life Center on June 30th, 1997)
WOMAN Betty Pleasant
SOLDIER Justin Schlaf
VOICE OVER Greg Shepard
2nd VOICE OVER David Ian
(LIGHTS down on stage, enter SOLDIER SR and WOMAN SL)
(Lights up SL on WOMAN)
(WOMAN in early ‘50s style clothes and hair, and appears to be walking into her own house. She has her purse and keys in one hand and is casually sorting through her mail. Upon seeing one envelope she drops her purse, keys and the rest of the mail. As she silently reads the envelope, VOICE OVER begins)
To: Mrs. Barbara Everston.
From: The United States Army Dispatch, Korea
(WOMAN hesitates a moment, then opens the envelope frantically. She unfolds letter and begins reading silently)
Dear Mrs. Everston,
We regret to inform you that your son, Private First Class Daniel Randall Everston, serving the United States 5th Division in Korea has been killed in combat. We would like to exten our most sincere and heartfelt condolences for your loss. Among his personal effects was this unsent letter which we have forwarded to you. Again, we offer our deepest sympathies.
(Lights up SR showing SOLDIER writing a letter. WOMAN is now reading her son’s letter and is sitting on the edge of the chair SL)
2nd VOICE OVER:
Nights are restless here. We’re supposed to get sleep for our big push tomorrow. This is our first offensive since the Chinese poured over the Korean boarder. It’s been rough going these last couple of weeks.
Jimmy Jenson took some shrapnel last week; he’s going home a little worse for wear. Johnny Jr. wasn’t so lucky. Neither was “Farmboy” Collins. Corporal Higgs is gone, too. I liked Higgs. He always made me laugh – even when we were scared spitless.
We got some new guys with clean crisp uniforms to fill out our unit. I guess I looked just as jumpy and scared as they did when I first arrived.
(Optional: MUSIC for “TAPS” begins, leading into choir song: “TAPS”)
2nd VOICE OVER: I just wanted you to know mom, I think I finally understand why dad volunteered to fight in the last war. He wasn’t much for explaining himself, leaving you with me, I know that. I guess when I grew up I resented his dying in the war and not being there for me when I needed a dad.
But now I see all these refugees leaving their homes with everything they own tied on their backs or carried in their arms, and I see them through dad’s eyes. They have nothing now; no money, no home, no neighbors, nothing. And now I understand. And I think I feel the same way that dad did back in the Second World War.
Dad didn’t go away just to fight the Germans, he went because he believed in freedom. These refugees here want nothing more than the freedoms that we enjoy at home. Dad couldn’t just sit back in his nice little house with you and me when he knew that someone was violating the freedom of a whole people, even if it meant leaving us to fight on a foreign shore.
(Song: “Taps” now sung a capella solo)
2nd VOICE OVER: And that’s what I believe now. Freedom is something that is not just worth fighting for yourself and for your own, but it is worth fighting for others as well. I can’t wait to be home, and smell freshly cut grass, or hear kids playing in Cedar Park, or see our county courthouse again. They will all have a new meaning for me now.
(Song: “Taps” is over)
(Lights down SR on SOLDIER)
2nd VOICE OVER: I love you mom. I always will. Don’t ever forget that. I know you told me never say this to you, but if I don’t come back,
(WOMAN pulls out dog tags from envelope, clutches them and the letter as last lines are delivered, fighting tears)
2nd VOICE OVER: --go out and smell the lawn, and watch the children play, and see the flag at the courthouse.
Dad and I will both be there.
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