November 16, 2007
Oroville Mercury Register Aug. 6, 1943
His Last Letter Home Tells why Soldier Was In This War
Companion Takes It From His Pocket As He Fall In Battle: An appointment
New York-U.P.- Sidney Rabinowitz, 21, “an ordinary young man” who
helped to drive the Axis out of Africa, must have known he had an
appointment with death, for some time before he died on Hill 609
in Tunisia he wrote this letter to his father and mother; “Dear
Pa and Adele: This is my last letter to you. I am keeping it in
my pocket, and if I should be killed I hope somebody will mail it
to you. “ I’m only worried about how sad you would be if I get killed.
But I hope you will also be proud that your son gave his life for
the greatest cause in the world – that men might be free. Pa, if
I caused you heartaches and disappointments, I’m sorry. You’ll never
know how much I have always loved you and how much more I love you
now. Please take care of your health for my sake. Adele, whatever
good qualities I may have I owe to you. You were the best mother
any boy could have. You were always kind and helpful, and you understood
me better than anyone else did. I’m proud to call you ‘mother’.
I leave you all my love. To both of you I want to say that you were
the best parents in the world and I love you both. I hope God will
take care of you. There is so much I wanted to say to you when I
see you again: about how I was going to care for you in the future
and how I would make you proud of me. Well, you will have something
to be proud of anyway.
“Do you remember before I became a soldier how I used to say that
I wanted to do something to help make the world better? Now I have
the chance. If I die at least I will know that I died to make the
world a better place to live in. I’ll die, not as a hero, but as
an ordinary young man who did all he could to help overcome the
forces of evil.” Sidney’s father, Paul Rabinowitz said that when
his son fell with a bullet in his chest, another soldier managed
to pull the letter from his pocket and hand it to his commanding
officer, who mailed it. The letter was written on April 26, one
week after the youth’s birthday. His father said another letter
had come, this one from the secretary of war, saying the President
had awarded Sidney the Purple Heart medal. “Yes, we’re proud,” Rabinowitz
Stu’s Notes; The Last Letter Home, I’m sure this letter could
have been the thought’s of many a young soldier that died. They
just didn’t get them down on paper.
The people in our Veterans Day Parade were wonderful, every last
one of us “in” the Parade had a great time, as I write this Lynn
is out and I have the TV so you know it is on the History Channel.
The invasion of Normandy is on tonight. So you know were my thoughts
are. I have watched many versions of this many times, to me it represents
all our wars and the incredible courage of all our young fighting
men and the women in all the support groups many serving in harms
way, more so today than ever before. I walked beside the Honor Guard.
We started at 5th Avenue and the long lonely walk to
Oak St was very quite except for the steady beat of the Drummers
Drum. No cheers except for one or two one block had a little boy
to cheer us on with his parents who watched closely from there yard.
There were many soldiers in our parade from the Normandy era. I
know many of them are 80 yeas and older, but look on the TV, they
are so young, and so brave and so many made the ultimate sacrifice
for us. They couldn’t be here today. Where are the People today
to watch these old soldiers go by. Some day they will be gone and
new solders will take there place. Let’s hope someone comes to watch
them. As we approached the Chamber Office we could see small groups
of people there and on both sides of the street and further down
the way and a few more groups by the Eagles Hall. The Congregational
Church got out promptly at 11AM and joined the other spectators.
My Daughter SSgt. Deborah Shaner lead the parade with her co driver
Spc. Hamilton in an all track moving vehicle. Behind her was SSgt.
Hamilton and Sgt David. We chose the Oroville National guard as
Grand Marshall this year and Col Bob Gilbert as Honorary Marshall.
The Parade is put on by the Exchange Club with Jim Hollingsworth
as Parade President. Four or five of our Oroville Veterans Memorial
Members served on this committee with the Exchange club members.
Some asked why the Veterans don’t switch the parade to Monday. Well
for a long time all over this land the parade has been on Nov. 11,
based on the signing of the Armistice, Nov. 11, 1918. It was signed
the 11th hour, the 11th minute, 11th
second of the 11th day, of the 11th month.
Many years ago as an Ironworker steward on a 28 floor building downtown
Sacramento, I got the whole job to stop work for an hour as the
Parade went right by. We sat on the 4th floor beam and
watched the parade. The November 11th fell on a Tuesday
that year. Had I of been at a parade 11 years ago I wouldn’t have
retired back then and would not have started the Memorial. As Nov.
11, 1996 I fell off a building and retired, the rest is History,
any way back to the subject. Someday when the last WWI soldier dies
there are only 2 or 3 left, maybe the younger Veterans will change
the day, who knows.