Muscatine Journal News-Tribune

Muscatine, IA

20 Nov 1944




Iowans Win in Essay Contest About Victory

(Iowa Daily Press War Correspondent)

With the Fifth Army (IDPA) -- Two Iowa soldiers were among the 25 winners of the essay contest on "What Victory Means to Me," conducted for officers and enlisted men of the North Africa theater of operations, United States Army.

They were T/Sgt. Robert L. Kretvitsky, a troop carrier and Pfc. Leroy O. Stierlin, field artillery, both of Des Moines.

More than 1,800 entries were considered by the board of officers named as judges by the theater commander.
Pvt. Isadore Rubin, Brooklyn, N.Y, of a fifth army destroyer battalion won first prize. He received a $500 war bond.

Kretvitsky and Stierlin were listed as 20th and 25th respectively. Both received $10 in federal securities.

Rubin's essay follows:

"At the moment it's difficult to think of victory as meaning anything but an end to the fear, to loneliness and death and a chance to go back and pick up the strands of interrupted lives.

Learns Cost

"Henceforth, each simple pleasure, each right we always took slightly will take on rich meaning. We know what it will cost to keep them and we know, too, that we've really earned a share of them.

"But victory means much more.

"With victory we stand on the threshold of limitless inventions and comforts. We possess the resources to extend our horizons in every field of endeavor and every aspect of human relations.

"However, ancient and stubborn enemies are still to be conquered. Enemies which must be overcome not by armies, but by minds and hearts and talents set wholly free. Such enemies are poverty, insecurity, prejudice, disunity.

"These too shall be conquered. For we have begun to think more dynamically. And if we can sweep aside untold obstacles to smash the most ruthlessly efficient machine of destruction ever devised, surely we possess the vision and practical genius to organize for peace, security and a world designed for living.

New Leaders Rising

"Till now, many have ruled because of accident of birth, of power and wealth. But throughout the world, the unfit, the weaklings and the traitors are falling by the wayside. New leaders are rising from the people, those who never sold their heritage of courage, faith and simple human dignity.

"With victory, we shall have destroyed those who would have enslaved the world. Our sacrifices have been for great, but we have won the opportunity to emerge from the animal kingdom and enter the kingdom of man.

"I look forward to living in such a world."

Nazi propagandists in and out of America and Americans, who dote on human faults, like to portray the men in uniform away from home as dissolute and hell raising.

Nazi Propaganda Reputed.

The great interest and number of contestants in the essay contest are among the facts which refute their accusations, and so are official reports from a recent survey made on the letter writing and money saving soldiers of the 91st division.

In a given period 91st GIs while receiving 451,878 letters and packages from home sent out more than 660,000 pieces of mail. In that period these men were paid $1,632,408 of which $1,454,353 was invested in war bonds and allotments. The sum saved was 39 percent of the amount received leaving only 11 per cent for post exchange rations and souvenirs.

Of the thousands of American soldiers and sailors, many of whom had been through terrific combat experiences, I have seen on pass in overseas cities and ports, the number out of line from excessive drinking or for any other reason was negligible.

Uniformed Americans abroad compare favorably with citizens at home on any standard of measurement.

Source: Muscatine Journal News-Tribune, November 20, 1944

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