Sol­dier’s fi­nal let­ter re­mains a bit­ter­sweet trea­sure

The Southwest Booster - - OPINION -

A South­west sol­dier’s fi­nal let­ter re­mains a tragic re­minder of the hor­rors of war.

The let­ter by Ge­orge Ak­ister was tucked away in a fam­ily bible and not talked about for many years, but it is now a trea­sured keep­sake of Geneva Schuler’s.

“It’s a snap­shot in time,” she said of the let­ter writ­ten by her great un­cle.

The let­ter is dated Septem­ber 9th, 1916, and was writ­ten to his niece Gla­dys Ak­ister just days be­fore his death in France.

Ak­ister home­steaded in the White Bear dis­trict, and like thou­sands of Cana­di­ans he joined the war ef­fort.

Born on Septem­ber 11, 1888, Pri­vate Ge­orge Wil­bert Ak­ister served with the Cana­dian In­fantry (Saskatchewan Reg­i­ment) 28th Bat­tal­ion. He was killed in France on Septem­ber 15, 1916, just four days af­ter his 28th birth­day. He is buried in the Con­tay Bri­tish Ceme­tery in Somme, France.

Schuler was struck by the sad­ness of the let­ter while grow­ing up, and for many years she could not fin­ish read­ing it with­out cry­ing.

Now, it stands out as a re­minder that free­dom is not free.

Iron­i­cally, the let­ter was held up by cen­sors, and ar­rived af­ter his fam­ily had re­ceived a tele­graph in­form­ing them of his death on the bat­tle­field.

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