Letter August 10, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents




Letter August 10, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents




WWI conscientious objection / objectors


Eichel, David


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Aug. 10, 1919 Letter [#7] from David Eichel, U.S.D.B., Fort Douglas, Utah

[August 10, 1919]

Dear folks:

This is the first opportunity I have had of thanking you for sending me the package of cookies and cake and for the package containing a complete home-coming outfit for me. some of the things you sent were, as a matter of fact, unnecessary, but I assure you I appreciate your thoughtfulness. All I require now is a discharge. I am quite ready to receive it. Luck however just now seems against me, apparently. It is obviously a matter of good fortunate or bad fortunate, and nothing more, since actual merit or demerit has no place in the govt's policy, else how could we explain its palpable inconsistency. However, if we could only feel that you were not suffering too greatly because of this purposeless and discriminating policy, we should be in a measure content. Conditions here are comparatively pleasant, and we have tried at least to

impress you with that. Our surroundings are positively beautiful, the climate the best this vast country has to offer, our food if not actually as good as we might obtain at home, is yet palatable and nourishing, and our companionship, as you already know, all things considered, is remarkable and highly instructive.

We are learning more of our surroundings every day. We are as you know, completely hemmed in by mountains. As mountains they were somewhat of a disappointment to me. They appeared no higher than some large hills I have seen. But I learn now that the rare atmosphere and lack of visual adjustment conspired to mislead me. In our clear and rare atmosphere, it is possible to distinguish, minutely, objects miles and miles away. A distance of twelve miles seems no more than a distance of 1/2 mile in N.Y. atmosphere. So you see mountain peaks that were miles away from us, even if they did seem very near us, would grow correspondingly small in size. Hence there seems to be nothing

imposing about our surrounding mountains. But notice these figure. South-east from the barracks, a distance doubtless of at least 15 miles (someone said 30 mile) are Twin Peaks, the two highest mountains of the range. They are said to be over 13000 ft above sea-level and over 8000 ft above the surrounding country. We can see clearly the snow upon them. The other peaks hardly seem any smaller, so one can readily conclude that our mountains are the real thing, and any deprecatory notion is the result of an optical illusion. Towards the southeast is U hill, whereon a huge "U" 100 ft in each direction has been placed by the university students of Utah. We can see it very clearly, and it hardly seems any larger than the clock in the Metropolitan Tower. But as I said it is 100 ft wide and 20 feet across [diagram of the "U"]. It is about as large as an ordinary twelve story building is high.

But enough of scenery. Life here is a humdrum existence after our various experiences. It is very uneventful and promises to continue so

until the "Powers That Be" decide one good day to make my life once more a part of the strife and competition of the world at large, a partner once more to its joys and woes, to its happiness and sorrow. In the meanwhile we must be resignedly content until those who hold our destinies in hand decide to release us. Let us make the most of life, even if we are deprived of our birthrights.

Jake Wortsman[n] leaves in 10 days. His is a case so similar to mine that it might be taken for one. He was drafted one day before us, and save for the one month at the Tombs, we have always been together. While Julius was separated from me, he was my closest pal and confident. It is hard to see what merits there are in his case to distinguish it from mine and a host of others. Jake does'nt know himself.

I must close now. Julius and I are well, very well. I hope you too are in good health. Our love and regards to all. As ever

Affectionately, your son


Eichel, David, “Letter August 10, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents ,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed September 22, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/52.

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