The director of Chapman University’s Center for American War Letters, Andrew Carroll, was recently featured on “Where We Live,” a radio show from the Connecticut public radio station WNPR. Carroll’s interview was part of a larger segment focusing on letter writing in general, the history of letters and the practice of letter writing in contemporary culture. He described several of the powerful letters in the CAWL collection, including an over 50-page letter from a sailor at Pearl Harbor that describes the attack in real-time.
Although the methods of letter-writing may be different – from hand-written letters in past wars to emails from more recent conflicts – Carroll emphasized that the emotions behind these messages remain consistent throughout the years. He does, however, encourage today’s troops to write handwritten letters from time to time, for history’s sake. “Just as you go through your grandfather’s letters from World War II, and really treasure and value those,” Carroll said, “future generations will go through your letters and really get a better sense of what you went through as well.”