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WWII Memories, Part 2

More Memories of Service on the USS Nevada...

Sunday Services, Great Lakes, ILL
Rear Admiral, John Downes,
U.S. Navy Commanding Officer
Church Services
Mother's Day Service, May 9, 1943:
"Life is a game--play it straight, my son,
Be brave, and strong and true;
Stand up for the right and face the fight
As mother taught you to.
Think not of self, nor paltry gain;
Do well what e're you do,
For the game is more than the players,
And the ship is more than the crew.

Sailor's Prayer
A Sailors Prayer...

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Grant no other sailor take
My shoes and socks before I wake
Lord guard me in my slumber
And keep my hammock on its number
May no dues nor lashings break
And let me down before I wake
Keep me safely in the sight
And grant no fire drill tonight
And in the morning let me wake
Breathing scents of sirloin steak
God protect me in my dreams
And make this better than it seems

Grant the time may swiftly fly
When myself shall rest on high
In a snowy feather bed
Where I long to rest my head
Far away from all these scenes
And the smell of half done beans
Take me back into the land
Where they don't scrub down with sand
Where no demon Typhoon blows
Where the Women wash the clothes
God thous knowest all my woes
Feed me in my dying thoes
Take me back I'll promise then
Never to leave home again...

V-Mail [a W.W.II form letter], June 1944:
Dear Mom,
"The O.W.I. has given you more information about the historic D-Day than we could hope to include in one letter.

Of Interest to you is our personal safety and the thrills we experienced.  Hollywood could not reproduce them.  When we were several hours before H Hour, the sky was lighted by plane-dropped star shells, thence minutes passed, our minds were torn from the dangers that lay on either side of the narrow mine-swept roads as we waited to learn who had lighted the sky--friend or foe.  Then came the drone of hundreds of bombers and eight miles of exploding bombs on the peninsula made our ship vibrate.  Our Air Force worked in spite of the tracers that made beautiful patterns against the sky.

Soon after dawn a Messerschmitt could be seen coming out of a white cloud bank to meet the tracer fire from a P-47.  As the American plane passed, a spitfire drove it's fiery tongue at the crippled German and sent him down in flames.   We could see mines erupting: and geysers around the ships told of shore batteries firing on the invasion fleet.

The hours melted into days and nights.  By day the allied transports extended from horizon to horizon, while allied bombers and fighters worked overhead our guns responded to location D.T. on enemy positions.  A message from a fire patrol agent stated: 'your fire is removing the turrets from their tanks', or another: 'the enemy hasn't been seen since your last salvo.'

Almost everybody got some mail recently.  What a thrill to realize that the radio and newspapers had given you an account of the excellent performance of our ship.

The officers, men, and ship did a good job and I'm proud to be aboard.

Till you hear from me again, keep praying, your prayers are being heard."    Love, Ray

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