Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 35

By | November 10, 2023

[November 10, 2023]  I didn’t know it then, but I grew up privileged.  Not with money, or status, or owning a big house or car or lots of clothes, but by being in the company of ordinary men, combat veterans from World War II and the Korean War, as well as those who served to protect us at home right here in America.  They were everywhere: salesmen, gas station attendants, growing crops, coaching baseball teams, raising dairy cows, bringing up families, being members of the volunteer fire department, all holding ordinary jobs you could find in Anytown, USA.  I saw their photographs of their battle buddies, and some of these ordinary men occasionally told me hair-raising stories about what they saw and did.  Looking back, I guess there should be no surprise that these veterans wanted to talk to someone about their experiences, someone who wouldn’t judge them harshly.  They talked about how a soldier could never predict when fear would sneak up on you, like a lion in the dark, and suddenly have you in its grasp.  That scared me; it scared me a lot.  How could I ever forget?

As little boys, we listened intently to these veterans, some recently returning from foreign battlefields, as they related their experiences.  It was our way of figuring out what it was like.  We boys were attracted to these men, although we didn’t know why.  They were exciting and mysterious as we listened to what they were saying and learned about their battle buddies, courage, duty, honor, and selfless service.  Like the little boys we were, we asked them stupid questions.  Did you kill anybody?  Were you a hero?  Did you have a real gun?  We were transfixed when they told stories of battles about the enemy and heroism.  There was something about these veterans that drove us to try to understand what it took to be a hero.  We knew nothing about a hero, only that adults in town looked up to them as special, admiring them, shaking their hands, smiling at them, and patting those veterans on the back.  Being a hero must have surely been cool.

Their stories were repeated often where veterans hung out, but we boys never tired of listening.  We were drawn to those stories that told of the best human traits.  Their battles were in the forests of Western Europe, the jungles of islands in the western Pacific, the hills and vast valleys just north of the 38th Parallel in North Korea, and also on the Homefront.  For example, we heard of the soldier who fought until all his ammunition ran out, then used up his hand grenades, then his bayonet and entrenching tool, and then his bare hands to fight off the “Communist hordes.”  We were also told the story about the Marine machine-gunner who kept fighting in his position until overrun.  Or, about the tale of an Infantry squad hiding in a shell hole, short of ammunition, and how they drew straws to see who got the dangerous job of going to the rear for more ammo and upon returning, he finds all his squad mates dead.  And what it was like guarding German POWs from the German U-Boat 505, only a few miles from our home.  Yes, we were in awe.

It is true that they taught me that war is not glamorous, fun, or something you would want to do.  I learned about the human element in war, which affects each person differently and unpredictably.  If you were ever in the military, you know that being brave was the most honorable thing a man could do for his men, military unit, and country.  It brings out the best and worst in humans.  And they taught us that war is unimaginably horrific.  This is how I learned that real heroes don’t wear capes or wear their underwear on the outside of their spandex blue tights, or have X-ray vision.  These men were the real heroes I could see, hear, and touch.  They were right in front of me.  These ordinary men did extraordinary things.  They are now very old, and most are now gone.  I hope I was not the only one listening to them speak of their military exploits.  Otherwise, their stories will be lost forever.  They are still my heroes.  I was privileged.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

32 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 35

    1. Eddie Gilliam

      Excellent job my friend. I had the pleasure to hear my Wayne II and his sister Shelby responds to this question, Who is your hero? They both did not say a favorite singer or actress, athlete. They said their DAD ” Wayne Gilliam ” was. The key was his being there for them when needed. Parents can your kids say the same thing if asked. Don’t be ashamed if not, it means you have to establish a strong relationship with your kids. Kids see you as by how much time you spend with them . The Bible says teach your children to respect and honor God and others.

  1. Eddie Gilliam

    Excellent article my friend. As young boy’s growing up with a male role model made a difference in our lives. You can tell the difference between the young kids that had male role models than the one’s that did not. I was raised by a single mom. As awesome that my mom was, she had hard time teaching my brother and I male things. The same goes true for girls beings raised by single dad. Parents main goal is to teach children to be self discipline.

    1. Melissa Jackson

      Eddie, spot on comment. I think many of us are looking back to see what made us be better men, or women. And self-discipline is one of those things that must be learned.

  2. Liz at Home

    Another wonderful and loving letter to your granddaughter. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. Harold M. Smith II

      Better late than never. This particular letter to Gen. Satterfield’s granddaughter is perfectly timed. It is about who Gen. S’s heroes were and are. It sets the tone for what he believed to be what was good in a community and he personally saw how these veterans were treated. Not all vets are heroes, altho we say that a lot. However, we should all aspire to achieve noble goals in our lives and that is what Gen. S is getting at here in this letter. Great job again, and let us hope there is a book in the wings.

  3. Randy Goodman

    Great letter to your granddaughter, Gen. Satterfield.
    Oh, yes ………. HAPPY VETERANS DAY

  4. Jerome Smith

    Tomorrow is Veterans Day. Attend an event. Thank a vet. Help get the word out in your community about any vet event. Attend. Be there for them. They were there for you.

    1. Rev. Michael Cain

      Right! And read more about veterans and pray for them if you are not a vet.

  5. HAL

    Gen. Satterfield sure knows how to write letters. Sometimes I think his letters might just be too much for his granddaughter. If she is little, she is fortunate that she will get to reread these letters for her entire life and see and understand how much she has with her grandfather, Gen. S.

  6. Maximilian Krämer

    ” I didn’t know it then, but I grew up privileged. Not with money, or status, or owning a big house or car or lots of clothes, but by being in the company of ordinary men, combat veterans from World War II and the Korean War, as well as those who served to protect us at home right here in America. They were everywhere: salesmen, gas station attendants, growing crops, coaching baseball teams, raising dairy cows, bringing up families, being members of the volunteer fire department, all holding ordinary jobs you could find in Anytown, USA.” – Gen. Doug Satterfield hits a homerun with his letter today.

    1. Bryan Z. Lee

      YES! My favorite paragraph. The entire letter is full of great insights.

  7. Nick Lighthouse

    For tomorrow………… HAPPY VETERANS DAY.

  8. Christine Bisset

    Hi everyone, I’m new to this website. The title of this article attracted me. Now, I’m starting to read all these letters.

    1. Wendy Holmes

      Welcome Christine. You will find this leadership forum very supportive.

  9. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

    I will give a short speech tomorrow. It is easy for me to give a speech. I do it often, so much of me talking and being an officer in the military has given me plenty of experience. But tomorrow’s Veterans Day speech will be difficult. So much of my life has been fully dedicated to serving our nation. I no longer do. So I do what I can and work with Veterans to help them. Tomorrow will have a post by a good friend of mine, Joe Griffies, radio host, Vietnam Vet, and great person to talk to about Vets.
    Happy Veterans Day!

    1. Army Captain

      Thank you, sir! I too will give a short talk after our local Veterans Day Parade.

      1. Navy Vet

        I wish I could hear these and get a good idea of what it is like. I’ve been asked but turn them down.

        1. Wild Bill

          Agree the next time. Gen. Satterfield has some sample speeches here. Just search on Veterans Day to get them. He doesn’t mind you copying his speeches.

      2. Yusaf from Texas

        Great. The more vets that talk to the ordinary person, the better.

  10. Maureen S. Sullivan

    This loving series is already Gen. S’s longest and most popular. Sir, I think you nailed it solidly with these letters, so please don’t stop writing them. I find each one both entertaining and helpful for me to understand how you became the person you are. I am in particular liking this letter as it is the day before Veterans Day. Are you giving a speech anywhere? I hope its on YouTube or Facebook Live. Thank you sir for your help to make me a better person.
    Great book!

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      Maureen, yes I am speaking at a local Veterans Day event in Vineland, NJ. I have no idea if they are putting it out on social media. If they do, I will post it.

      1. Maureen S. Sullivan

        Sir, thank you so much for responding. I love your series, please continue.

  11. Valkerie

    Another spectacular letter “to My Granddaughter.” Thank you General Satterfield.

  12. Janna Faulkner

    First to comment!!!!
    No. 35, Who were my heroes? Yeah! Great letter, Gen. Satterfield.
    Loving your series….❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

    1. British Citizen

      Janna, ha, you are first today. Congrats. And, I think that we all love this series of letters to his granddaughter. Who wouldn’t love it and we find out a bunch about Gen. satterfield as a little boy. Cheers.

      1. Guns are Us

        Yes, we all indeed love it. Be sure to get a copy of Gen. Satterfield’s latest books. My favorite and the favorite of most of us is “55 Rules for a Good Life” so get your copy today and leave a post on Amazon so others can read what you think of it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.