A Letter from Lt. Robert J. Meader
Pendleton Field December 30, 1941
This letter may seem a little overdue; however; I received your package yesterday, and this is the first opportunity that I have had to write.
I appreciated your Thoughtfulness and kindness in remembering me with a box of excellent candy for Christmas. In fact it is difficult to assemble mere words to express my true gratitude. Thank you so very much!
Although I did dislike being away from home during these holidays, it still was a Happy Christmas because things could be so much worse. – And then, having friends and relatives remember you helped to fill in the empty spot. It is probable that my folks have told you that I called them on Christmas Day. It took about 10 hours to put the call through, but it certainly was wonderful to hear their voices. That made my Christmas complete.
But enough about my Christmas. I hope that you had an enjoyable and merry Christmas. I’ll bet that old Santa was really good to all of you.
There is very little I can write about our activity here. I know you understand. But I do want to assure you that all is well, and that I am fine. This is a big and a tough job that we have ahead of us. However, you can not conquer that great American determination and sense of cooperation. It is ours to place unfailing trust in the divine power that is guiding us. So much can be done with faith, courage and determination. So let us refrain from worry, and someday in the not-too-distant future we shall be able to look back and all of this as a nightmare, but strengthened by the knowledge that we can continue to live as a free people.
This is brief, it is true, but none the less sincere in its purpose of expressing my gratitude to you. Please write me if you ever have a minuet to spare. I shall answer your letters at my first opportunity. So “Goodnight” to you all, and I hope that each day of the new year is filled with happiness.
Lt Robert J. Meder, a Lakewood, OH High School graduate who attended Miami University before joining the service, wrote this letter to his uncle and aunt, William and Mary Meder. He was captured after his plane dropped its bombs on Tokyo and crashed off the coast of China. Imprisoned and tortured, he died of dysentery and beriberi in a Shanghai prison cell on December 1, 1943 at age 26. He was cremated, and his ashes were buried in Arlington National Cemetery after the war.
The fifth paragraph “This is a big and tough job—-” was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer by Brian Albrecht April 4, 2010 with comments by his cousin Mar Lou Dorogi. Dorogi never met her cousin. But she still remembers the hushed, emotional conversation between her mother and his. The family didn’t know he had died in captivity until the war ended. “My poor aunt. She went through hell,” recalled Dorogi, who spent a few sleepless nights herself, wondering about her cousin’s fate. And she cried all over again when she read one of his last letters. Then it hit her. “It seems like so long ago, yet we’re going through the same thing with Iraq and Afghanistan,” she said.
The Robert J. Meder Squadron at Miami University is at http://www.orgs.miamioh.edu/arnoldair/History.html