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May 11

Flowers for Mother’s Day, 1945

I wrote this a couple years ago but thought it timely to post it again since Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday. In addition, I have been transcribing my dad’s WWII letters and I found a letter my dad wrote that mentions these Mother’s Day flowers. [1]

An excerpt from a V-Mail letter my dad wrote from Germany to his sister Em on 20 April 1945. The war was not over when he wrote the letter but it was over by Mother’s Day:

…I sent mom a double bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day. I didn’t get to send her any for Easter…

What mother wouldn’t enjoy getting a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers on Mother’s Day. Especially if the flowers were from her son who was overseas, serving his country during World War II.

Flowers from Herb in Germany, May 1945.

It was 13 May 1945. Mother’s Day. Less than a week after V-E Day, which marked the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany and the end of fighting in Europe. Yes. There was a lot to celebrate.

Somehow my dad arranged for his mother to receive this large bouquet of flowers on Mother’s Day. Maybe one of his sisters cut them from the garden. No matter how she got the flowers, grandma certainly looks happy and proud. After all she had more than one reason to celebrate that day.

But the best and most important reason to celebrate was that the war was over and her son would be returning home soon. Grandma Miller must have been thrilled to receive the beautiful bouquet, but even happier to know that her son had survived the war.

Pfc Herbert M. Miller

Harry S. Truman issued a Mother’s Day Proclamation in April 1945: “…Whereas it is fitting that we acknowledge anew our gratitude, love, and devotion to the mothers of America… in this year of the war’s greatest intensity we are ever mindful of their splendid courage and steadfast loyalty to the highest ideals of our democracy…the service rendered the United States by the American mother as the greatest source of the country’s strength and inspiration…” [2]

Harry Truman’s words are still true and meaningful today, 73 years later.

Happy Mother’s Day!

[1] My dad, Herbert Miller, was trained as a replacement troop during the fall of 1944. After he arrived in Europe he was assigned to Company L, 333rd Regiment, 84th Infantry Division, known as the Railsplitters. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and later in parts of Luxemburg and Germany.

[2] Harry S. Truman: “Proclamation 2649—Mother’s Day, 1945,” April 17, 1945, Online by Gerhard Peters and john T. Wooley, The American Presidency Project (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=87028 : accessed 7 May 2015).

 

 

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