Letters From A D-Day Vet - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Letters From A D-Day Vet

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Seventy years ago on June 6, 1944, as U.S. Army troops took to the beaches of Normandy, France, Charles Westie took to pen and paper, to let his wife know how much he loved her in case he never saw her again.

“It reads like a last will,” said Mark Harvey, an archivist at the Archives of Michigan.

Through Westie’s family, the Archives of Michigan was able to obtain original copies of the letter Westie sent to his wife, as well as the letter his wife sent to him on D-Day. “At the same time he’s writing…his wife, Ardith, has learned early on about the invasion and has penned a letter the same day,” said  Harvey.

Read more about Westie and his experiences here

The exhibit showcases the letters, as well as other artifacts from Westie, such as his Purple Heart. Historians say the letters are even more powerful than pictures in some respects, as they give a firsthand account into the mind and emotions of a soldier overseas and a family anxiously awaiting on the home front. “You can infer things from photographs, you can get an idea of what was going on, but when someone spells it out in their own words, that story becomes real,” said Harvey. “Real people, real emotions, and real stories.”

Westie was injured in battle, and returned home to the States where he lived until his death in 1994. His wife lives in Traverse City.

The special D-Day collection is available for viewing Monday through Friday afternoons between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
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