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WWII Love Letters Unsealed to Celebrate Couple’s Would-Be 80th Wedding Anniversary

WWII Love Letters

Hundreds of letters penned between a WWII soldier and the love of his life have been unsealed at the University of Maryland.

In 1941, U.S. Army soldier Harry Lund was stationed at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth. Having no one at home to write to, he sent a letter to a magazine editor asking if they could set him up with a pen pal. The editor had a woman living in Chicago named Zilphia reach out to him. Little did Harry know, she would become his wife.

World War II Love letters

“They were just kids starting to learn about life as well as learn about love,” said Gregory Curtis, head of special collections and projects at the university’s Fogler Library.

Over the course of the war, the couple sent each other over 400 letters. Most of the correspondences were simply about their daily lives. Over the months, they got to know each other well, and while Gregory believes Harry “fell for her before she fell for him,” they both slowly fell into mutual love.

WWII Love Letter

“We always see these dramatic war movies, and you know, the dangers that are there,” he continued. “But for a lot of folks like this, there was a lot of just day-to-day loneliness and drudgery. And those letters from pen pals, loved ones, were very much helpful in getting through that daily grind.

The WWII-Era Couple Donated Their Love Letters in the 1970s

Harry and Zilphia, or “Zizzie,” as he called her, said, “I do in 1943.” They moved to Portland, Maine, had children, and lived a typical, quiet, life.

In the 1970s, the Lunds sent their WWII love letters to the University of Maine with the stipulation that they must remain sealed until their 80th wedding anniversary on September 18, 2023. The two have since passed away, but the university honored their wish. The letters are now on display inside the campus library.

Harry and Zilphia never explained why they wanted to put their letters on display, nor did they say why they wanted to wait until their 80th anniversary. But Gregory believes it has something to do with the couple wanting to keep a lost way of life alive.

WWII Love Letter

“There was very much a sense of your duty to do what you did for the country,” he shared. “And so maybe there was still that feeling of duty for the future generations.”

You can read the WWII love letters here.

You can find the source of this story’s featured images here.

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