July 21, 1918

U.S. Army Private Byron L. Sylvaro, who fought in France during World War I, died at age twenty-three as a result of his wounds in 1918. On the day that she received a telegram announcing his death, his mother, Nellie Sylvaro, also received two letters from him.

We are having very nice weather, but it is very hot in the middle of the day, and pretty cold at night and morning, which is pretty good for those that sleep at night, but we don’t always get a chance to sleep at night. Sometimes we don’t get any sleep at all. The first front I was on I did not get but six hours of sleep in four days, but I have had it pretty easy since then.

I have been on three fronts so far. Those big guns are making some noise now, they jar this paper I am writing on…This country is not so bad. I have been in lots of towns over here, but most all of them are in ruins. It is a pretty sad looking place.

I am writing this letter in a YMCA, in the front line. Don’t worry about me. Just write to me as often as you can, because your letters cheer me up.

Give my regards to all the boys that are left. I will close now, hoping to hear from you soon.

Your loving son,

Almost two hundred Nantucket men enlisted to fight the Germans in World War I. Private Byron Sylvaro was the only one who died while serving.

Excerpted from On This Day In Nantucket History
By Amy Jenness
The History Press
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The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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