The phrase “my one and only” or the acronym O.A.O. was often used by soldiers during the Second World War to describe their sweethearts back on the home front. The phrase signifies the love and adoration these couples felt toward each other, and can dictate the love between couples throughout all times of war.

“My One and Only” is also the title for the Center for American War Letters’ newest exhibition, which displays love and heartbreak through love letters and greeting cards from the Civil War to the Iraq War.

This exhibition features the kisses of Kathleen Biddle, a letter from a Navajo code talker begging his love to forget him for he thought he might die, a love letter from General John J. Pershing, a racy and lewd drawing a soldier sent to his wife, a love letter with the envelope stamped with the dreaded words “Return to Sender: Missing in Action,” and many other items. These items highlight the expressions of love that gave soldiers a reason to fight and stay alive while also providing a distraction among the violent backdrop of war.

Join us on Monday, February 12 at 6 p.m. for the opening reception of the exhibition and program featuring Andrew Carroll, Founding Director of the Center of the American War Letters.