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10 September. - 1919 My Dear Dad : - I am having another wonderful trip. I am now at Ghent in Belgium. It is one of the oldest and most interesting cities of the world. Possibly you were here before. I left Trier about a week ago and came up through Coblenz, Cologne, Bonn, Brussels, Antwerp, I remained a day or more in each place and saw everything of interest. I have spent two or three days in Brussels and the same in Antwerp. Tomorrow afternoon I Ieave here for Bruges and then for Ostend. From what I here, Ostend is a “Place Magnifique”. I intend to go up to [Zeebrugge] where the English made their naval raid and then on to Paris by way of Lille and Cambrai. Possibly I shall have time to see Verdun before returning to Trier. I have been through Louvain and Liege. As soon as I get to Trier I hope to find orders awaiting for me to return to the States for discharge. This will be about Sept. 18. I was not able to get up into Holland as the Dutch are very strict now about passports. I went to the American Consul General in Antwerp but he could do nothing for me. I can save that for next time, however, as I am seeing plenty here in Belgium and France. Don’t let anybody talk to you about “poor starving Belgium”. There is more food here than in
any other country in Europe and I would almost say more than in the States. There are about a half dozen pastry shops to every block and their windows are filled with fancy cakes and candies. The hotels have wonderful food. It is, however, rather high. People are dressed in wonderful clothes. Without a doubt Belgium has suffered least of any of all the countries at war. There is absolutely no destruction to speak of with the exception of the city of Louvain. This is somewhat different than what you read in the papers. It is a wonder the press would not print the real truth once in a while. I don’t think I like the Belgians as well as the French and that is going some because I certainly despise those French. It is different when one is over here and living amongst the people themselves for about a year and a half or more. The English are fine, and I can get along with them O.K. They are very refined, educated, and deep thinking race, even down to the man in the ranks. If any one says he can’t get along with the English it is just because he is one of these typical Americans who are always spouting off at the mouth and can’t see any deeper than the outside surface. Of course there are good and bad in all countries. I am afraid, however, that if we ever have to come to the aid of “bleeding France” or “starving Belgium” again, as far as those who are concerned who have had anything to do
with them. President Wilson can sling a pack and shoulder a musket & come over here alone. Well, I shall certainly have a lot to tell when I get back. I don’t believe I can ever stop talking. I have also been along the Rhine to Mainz & Wiesbaden. Wiesbaden is a beautiful place. I saw the Lorelei & all the old Rhine castles. I will cable you when I leave and possibly you can meet me in New York with a suit of civilian clothes. I don’t know as I shall have time to go home before Christmas holidays. Have never felt better in my life. Much love to Mother & IO and June. Tell June the rifles over here aren’t worth a whoop. He can do better in the States. In fact it is all American patents over here that they are selling. Much love to you & farewell for the present. Burnie.
From the service of James Kellogg Burnham Hockaday, First Lieutenant, 354th Infantry, 89th Division.
|Date||September 10, 1919|
|Year Range from||1919|
|Year Range to||1919|
Hockaday, James Kellogg Burnham
World War I