After reading about Kenneth Shadrick, Wyoming County resident and first American to die in the Korean War, I found an old letter that my father had written. It had been given to my mother by her mother-in-law on 19 July 1956. It was postmarked 23 March 1951. It is from PFC Peters, somewhere in Korea, to his mother, Sadie Stover Peters, in Williamsburg, Greenbrier County, West Virginia. PFC Peters was a month past his 18th birthday. The letter is as follows:
The Herbert mentioned is Herbert Stover, uncle of my father and son-in-law of Shirley Stilwell. Shirley Stilwell had just died. Herbert Stover, a World War II vet, would die a short time after at the age of 26, leaving a wife and two young children. Lloyd is Lloyd Peters, my uncle and younger brother to my father. He now resides in Rock Island, Illinois.March 14, 1951
Somewhere in KoreaDear Mom:
I will write a few lines to let you know I am alright.
I hope all of you are feeling good now. We had an orphan kid we had been keeping with the squad and when we moved out the other morning, he fell off the truck and the trailer run over him. He died about 10 minutes later.
I was sorry to hear about Shirley Stilwell but I knew I would never see him again. Has Herbert gone back to work yet? Did you get Lloyd any shoes yet? I will close for now. Answer soon.
Love to All
An 18-year-old boy should be at home fixing up hot rods and chasing skirts instead of dodging bullets and mourning orphans. Maybe General William Tecumseh Sherman said it best when he simply said, "War is hell!" It robs us of our young men and young women. Even those that return are old beyond their years.
Thanks for listening. As always, I look forward to hearing from you.