After The Globe and Mail published the final chapter of the Dear Sweetheart series on Saturday - revealing that David Hazzard was killed in action without ever seeing his wife, Audrey, again - letters poured in from readers. Here is a selection:
I can neither fully understand nor explain how shocked and saddened I felt when I saw your front page today. I lost a good and admirable friend today. We all did.
- Michael Royce, Toronto
No! No! No! It was not supposed to end like this. He was supposed to come home to her and his two girls. I was not at all emotionally prepared. Now, I am going to hear all those letters in my head each and every time I see a face on the news, each time I see the name of someone who has been lost in battle. My weeping heart hurts.
- Jennifer Rodgers,
Thank you to Anne and Karen for sharing their father's wonderful letters. I was deeply moved by David's sudden death. In one of his letters, David writes "words simply can't express what I feel." But I will never forget David's poignant illustrations of his deep and enduring love for his wife Audrey and his two young daughters. David's words remind us of the gift
of relationship - and of everyday moments that become treasured memories.
- Bruce Glawson, Toronto
My father was in the 14th Army in Burma, and mopping up in India until 1946. When he died in 1988, we found a stack of 50 letters in an old trunk in our attic. He had written home regularly and my grandmother must have given them to him after the war.
He would have been 20 when he joined up, yet like many of his generation, he never talked about the experiences of those six years. I'm sure he felt we wouldn't have been able to comprehend what he did and saw. Reading those letters was like reading David's story; someone I didn't know. And yet through them I could picture a youthful version of the dad I'd known. In some ways they explained the quiet introvert he was.
Having children of the age these men and women were when they gave up their youth makes me realize how fortunate they are - and, indeed, we were - at the same age.
- Tony Burt, Vancouver
When we saw the front page of the paper this morning, with the image of the telegram, we knew immediately that David Hazzard had not survived the war, and we were almost overcome with grief. Somehow we knew he wouldn't make it, but we so hoped he would, and we would learn of his reunion with his family. It was not to be, as it was not to be with so many men, young and old. Thank you for taking the time to tell this sad and timely tale.
- Eunice Edgington and
Nigel Brachi, Edmonton
Many places and things David Hazzard wrote about were familiar to me. Now I am sad - I expected to read about his return to his family in 1945. My husband, a former submariner who survived the war, and I both lost our elder brothers, killed in action during the Second World War, and many more close relatives in both World Wars. We now firmly believe that disputes should be settled by dialogue and not arms.
- Patricia Wood, Halifax
Thank you for the Dear Sweetheart series. It made me cry a bit at the end, as I am sure it did many other old vets. But we don't care.
- Bob Golding,
Although I could see it coming, with this being the last week of the series and the letters only dated June 1944, I was moved to tears this morning when I learned of David's death on the battlefield. What a loss. These letters certainly bring our current losses in Afghanistan into a sharper focus. As his daughter Karen was quoted in your article, "It's just the waste of it that angers me." Me too.
- Peter D. Hambly,