Editor’s note: The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Carroll County Common Pleas Court Judge Dominick E. Olivito Jr. and includes an introduction by Judge Olivito about a timeless letter written by his father, Sgt. Dominick Olivito while serving in the military in Germany in 1944.
“As we give thanks this holiday season let us keep in mind the important rather than material things in life that matter most for which we give thanks: life, health, family, friends, safety, freedom, food and shelter,” Judge Olivito said.
“Being thankful for simple things is the message embodied in the Thanksgiving letter from a World War II soldier serving in Europe on the front lines near Achaean, Germany, November 1944, just prior to Germany’s surprise counter attack known as The Battle of the Bulge,” he said.
The following timeless letter of Sergeant Dominick Olivito (father of Judge Olivito) serving in the 92nd Chemical Mortar Battalion, First and Ninth Armies, XIX Corps, later to become Jefferson County’s honored Common Pleas Court Judge, echoes the unselfish Thanksgiving wish of all servicemen and women, then and now.
Olivito Letter dated November 23, 1944
This is Thanksgiving Day! And I have a plenty to be thankful for, I’ve been fortunate in many ways and I’m grateful.
I’m grateful too because we really had a fine dinner today. I certainly never expected to eat turkey in Germany but this only goes to show that there is many a thing, which comes to pass which is never foreseen. However, there is one thing about this set up which I have always known and that is the day can’t be too far away before we “talk turkey” to these Jerries in Germany.
Tonight within our little circle of five, things are fairly cozy. What a life! We’ve rigged up a lighting system with real lights, put up our blackout curtains with the minimum of difficulties and even have a coal stove going at full blast.
There is something about this stove which strikes me as being silly. We made a number of attempts at setting the stove but each time something would go wrong. Things such as if the base were solid the pipes would not reach, or if the pipes would set right the stove would rock sideways.
Finally one of the boys got the amazing idea to mount the stove upon a table and now there it sets and it is doing fine. We did have some difficulty trying to re-fuel but now we have a box near the table which we use to stand on in order that we may reach the door of the stove.
Just a few minutes ago some GI who was groping his way in the darkness managed to stumble over our stovepipes which happened in his path. For a while things were SNAFU but we slapped the pipes together again in fine shape. Things like this are normal occurrences which we experience daily.
This is my first chance in four days to write a letter and I owe almost everybody some mail (I’ve been laying down on the job - you know.) Then too I’ve had no letters for almost a week.
Give my regards to the Crockers, Cosnuntizs, Sis, Tony Williams and Butch, Charlie Unkovitch, Tony Slate and family, the bus driver and all the fellows at the “U”. Good luck and Love,