Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day - in honor of my Dad

Kenny Petersen
U.S. Navy

November 15, 1944

Dearest Mom, Dad and Sis:

Well it is 11:30 P.M. and I just got back from my last class. We had a movie, a lecture and some look out practice. Well I’ve got a few minutes before I will hit the sack so I am a writing again to let you know that I am thinking of you all of the time. I would a lot rather write to you than anyone because I like your letters so darn much. Well I have been trying to write you everything I can and let you know what I am doing, what it is like here etc.

Golly I sure do wish that you could see some of the places that I have seen done some of the things. Gee I’m not kidding you but I am really seeing the sights. Just think. Who would have ever thought 2 years ago that I would be in the Navy and see the Gulf of Mexico and now I am almost ready to be put on a big ship and see the ocean. It’s really something eh? Just think after this war of all the things that I can tell you. About the things that I have done, and where I have been, about the ocean, the big ships, the different ports. Golly!! Oh, I didn’t tell you one thing that I did while I was on liberty.

Now don’t get mad at me when I tell you. I wasn’t a going to tell you, but heck I can tell my folks everything that I do and not be ashamed of it. Well our whole gun crew got together and Saturday when we went into Gulfport we all had a tattoo put on us. ha ha. I didn’t get a very big one. It’s an anchor with U.S.N. across it. It’s really pretty and the scab is just about off. It’s on my left arm and you aren’t a real sailor until you have one. ha. So now I am a real sailor ha. It hurt a little while the fellow put it on but it don’t bother me a bit and it’s pretty nice. Now don’t get mad please. I’m not a going to get anymore but I always did want a small tattoo on me. ha. Here is what it looks like.

This is just a rough sketch of it but this is what it sorta looks like. haha. It looks really nice and I really look salty. ha ha. Please don’t get mad or bawl me out now. Will you. Write and tell me what you think about it though. I am writing to you and sucking on some of your candy. Boy is it ever good. I really like your life savers and that is the best kind of candy that you can send me. It’s really swell. Well it’s about time to knock off and hit the sack, so will close for now. Keep them swell letters a coming and good night and Lots of Love and Kisses.


Note: Dad came home from the war with not just one, but three tattoos. He was just 18 years old when he wrote this letter home.


  1. What a great letter. It is interesting reading letters from different time periods. Kenny used words like "swell," "golly," and "gee." What "kid" use those words today? Thanks for sharing.

  2. How wonderful that you have your father's letters from WWII. It was such fun to read but you could almost sense the homesickness. We can see two of his tattoos in the photo. Thanks for sharing.