Velma Iverson

The spirit of the American men on all war fronts has rightly received high praise. The spirit of American nurses, who share their hardships in many cases and always strive to alleviate them, is equally fine and worthy of praise. These girls voluntarily leave home and those dear to them to go to far places for long periods. It isn't easy, but there are experiences they will remember with pleasure and pride during the rest of their lives.

Such a moment came to a girl from this vicinity on duty "somewhere in the Pacific" last Christmas. She is Second Lieutenant Velma Iverson, a graduate of Luther Hospital, Class of 1941, who was on duty at that hospital for about a year, before entering the Army Nurse Corps. As she admits, there are times when she felt "sorry for herself," but she knew how to fight that feeling.

Following is the Christmas letter, Lieutenant Iverson wrote to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sam K. Iverson of Colfax. The hospital at which she was stationed was at Guadalcanal, later letters revealed. While at Luther Hospital, Velma Iverson was one of a trio of singers who took part in many programs. That talent she put to good use overseas, too, the letter indicates.  

"Dearest Mother and. Dad--

"This third Christmas Eve away from you really has been a beautiful one. I just returned from the hospital wards where a group of us went from one to another singing Christmas carols and passing out stockings filled with candy and gifts. All the wards were dark, and most of the patients asleep at 10:00 pm. We awakened them with the beautiful Christmas hymns. Many were too choked up with tears to say anything. Many lay in their beds silently, and unnoticed tears sliding down into the pillows.  At the end, Chaplain Johnson gave a word of Christmas greeting. How lonesome and depressed these poor fellows were! I think it means a lot to them to be remembered in such a small way.  

"As we made our way back to our quarters, singing carols, we were met by a band playing Jingle Bells.  These fellows rode around on a back of a truck from area to area, spreading a little cheer. Wasn't that wonderful? 

"Tonight, I'm going with the girls to midnight Mass over in our hospital theater. Afterwards, we are going to have our own party in our quarters. We have our living room decorated with a beautiful table, laden with candy, nuts, etc. All the Christmas packages are piled in one corner and it looks like hundreds of them.

"My Christmas party to the ward was a huge success. I decorated a large table at one end of the room with cotton for snow, little paper Christmas trees, Santa Claus. Our linen table cloth consisted of two sheets. We had a plateful of candy, gum, cigars, candy, nuts, doughnuts, cake, and little sandwiches. I served ice cream with chocolate sauce, cold cokes, and beer. We dressed up a fat patient in a Santa Claus costume. There must have been at least 75 people present. It was a lot of work but so much fun. 

"This afternoon I began to feel sorry for myself. Here, it was Christmas Eve, and I was lonesome, blue and homesick. I could have easily sat down and cried my eyes out. The more I thought, the more I felt foolish because I realized that there were so many miserable, sick, lonesome fellows here that really had a right to feel the way I wanted.

"It certainly takes these American fellows to make the best of things, even if they have nothing. I'm proud to be here, joining in making a happy time for them.

"My hope and prayer is that next year we can all be home together. 

"I know both of you didn't feel absolutely alone because all four of your children were there in spirit, if not in body. Good night, dear Mother and Dad.    VELMA"