Chaplain Justus, About To Sail, Writes To Herald Readers

March 11, 1943

Dear Herald Readers:

March 3, 1943

Since I may not be able to do this very soon again, I thought that I would write you a few lines to say both “hello” and “goodbye.” I am writing to you from a port on the West Coast, where I have been since arriving here. I had a wonderful trip on the train, coming by one of the most scenic routes that there is. Our train was ten hours late, but I had allowed ample time, so that I would not be late in reporting.

Most of my time has been employed since arriving here, in purchasing and gathering together the things that I will need for my work. I have spent the money that the friends of the churches and the town gave me, and I wish that you might see some of it. I was able to get the kind of a communion chalice that I wanted. Also I bought a cross, candlesticks, flower vases to match, artificial flowers that can be used for the different religious seasons, candles, altar frontals and linens, and a special little grip to carry all of these in. They belong to me and were made possible for me, and thus the men, by your generosity. Thank you, and God bless you.

I have also secured crates and crates of things that I will give to the men– some for their comfort in necessity, and some for their pleasure. I have pajamas, socks, sweaters, toothbrushes, comfort kits, games, cigarettes, candy, stationary, afghans and blankets, razors and blades, books, magazines, ink, and many other things. This sounds like a lot to you, and looks like a lot to me, but where I am tentatively headed, there is a tremendous need. They need chaplains very badly and I have a big job ahead. Not too big, I hope.

I am unable to say when I am leaving, for I am not certain, and couldn’t tell you if I was. All I know is that when I’m gone, it will probably be a long, long time before I see you. The information I’ve gleaned leads me to believe this. Wherever I go, all of you good people back home will be in my thoughts. I can never forget and never repay your kindness.

It is my prayer that Lent and Easter will be a blessing to you all, and to the world for which Christ died and rose again. When the sun dawns on Easter, pray for me, and think of me somewhere on the waters, holding Divine Services for men who are tense from battle, whose nerves have been wracked with shot and shell, but who fight grimly on for the victory without which life will not be worthwhile. May it please God Almighty, to order the ways of men in such a way that this raging inferno may cease. Our prayers will help.

And now, until I see you again, or until you hear from me again, I say, “Peace be with you.” Remember me in your prayers. I am headed for action, but also for the victory we seek. In the service of God and my country, I am

Sincerely yours,

Chaplain Karl B. Justus, USNR.

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