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We Will Not be Strangers

The lives of thousands of married American couples were disrupted when the Korean War broke out. Some had been married since before World War II. Others were newly-weds who had just recently entered the bonds of matrimony, gone to housekeeping, and started families. When the Korean War broke out, husbands in the reserves were whisked off to war by government order, leaving their families behind to worry about the fact that their life’s partner was now in harm’s way. Meanwhile, servicemen were not only dealing with the stress of being drawn unexpectedly into a war, but also they were dealing with the stress of worrying about how the wife and children were getting along back in the States without the man of the house to tend to family affairs and deal with the small and large emergencies that face every household now and then.

Most of these couples wrote letters back and forth expressing their worries and concerns, as well as their love and affection. Many of these missives have been lost to time and moves from one house to another. One couple that lived on the east coast—one of those couples who was deeply affected by the Korean War—did, however, manage to keep all of the letters that they had mailed to each other while the husband was in Korea. Decades later, Dorothy Horwitz edited the letters of her husband, Mel Horwitz, and published a book entitled, "We Will Not Be Strangers."

Mel and Dorothy Horwitz
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Mel and Dorothy Horwitz were married only one year when he was drafted into service as a surgeon with a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) in Korea. While Mel was in Korea, Dorothy lived with her widowed mother in an apartment in New York. "He and I wrote daily letters so that we would not be strangers when we would meet again," Dorothy said in a CNN Korea Chat Series in 2000. Mel wrote about his daily activities in the MASH unit, and Dorothy wrote about her daily activities in New York. Their letters were romantic, sad, humorous, and filled with longing for each other. "We wrote about our feelings, our longings, our thoughts, and everything that was on our minds during those months apart," Dorothy explained to the CNN chat moderator.

An edited transcript of the CNN interview with Mel and Dorothy Horwitz can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.cnn.com/COMMUNITY/transcripts/2000/6/21/horwitz/. The Horwitz’s book, We Will Not Be Strangers, is 248 pages hardcover. It was published in 1997 by the University of Illinois Press (http://www.press.uillinois.edu/s97/horwitz.html). The book’s ISBN number is 0252022041. It can be purchased on Amazon.com for $26.95; half.com by ebay for $22.89; and the University of Illinois Press for $24.95. There is a book review about We Will Not Be Strangers on the Amazon.com website. For more information about this really fascinating book about the Korean War home front/Korean War theatre of war, just type in "We Will Not Be Strangers" (in quotes) in any search engine.

This book is highly recommended by the Korean War Educator for those who wish to gain an insight into the American home front during the Korean War, as well as for those who want a glimpse of the horrors and boredom of war from the perspective of a MASH surgeon.


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