, Salem, MA


June 6, 2014

Letter: 'Whatever you do, don't worry about me'

Editor’s note: In recognition of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Yaffa family of Beverly shared this 70-year old letter written by John Armao (the father in-law of Beverly resident Lee Yaffa) on June 6, 1944, the day of the D-Day invasion.

Yaffa says: “While simple in tone ... the letter reflects the worldly concerns of the pending invasion, but also the more simple attention to personal matters. We sense it’s exemplary of many letters of its time. Because all homebound mail was censored, we do not know when it arrived at its New York destination. We do know that Catherine Armao was born 12 days later, June 18, 1944, so John had a new arrival waiting for him once he sailed home on the Queen Mary.

“John Armao was one of the first military pharmacists to provide penicillin to U.S. troops in Europe during the war. He passed away this January at 102 and received a military funeral at the Gerald B.H. Solomon National Cemetery, Saratoga, N.Y.”

June 6, 1944

Dearest Tena,

This is the day we’ve been waiting for for a long time. We know at last that it means the beginning of the end. I heard the news early this morning and wondered if the people at home continued to sleep thru the night or was their sleep disturbed by the epic news. We heard it shortly after 8 a.m., which is 2 a.m. in New York. The feeling here is that we are actually attacking the enemy where it will do the most good and that long period of waiting is finally over. So far, the news is good and we are hoping it continues. I cannot help but feel for those who gave up their lives and I sincerely hope that those that survive see to it that such a horrible thing never happens again.

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