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A tribute to Mr. Arvis Ray Holt

Mr. Arvis Ray Holt, late Sgt. Holt of the US Army, my distant kinsman and former neighbor in Russell County, died Tuesday, May 24, 2011. His obituary (with parts of this tribute incorporate)_ states he served in the military and that he was a POW during World War Two.

There's more to the story.

Arvis Ray "jined up" in June, 1940, and was among some of the first troops sent to North Africa. On February 17, 1943, he was one of many US soldiers captured by the German forces in the Battle of the Kasserine Pass, Tunisia, North Africa, four months and five days past his 22nd birthday. He remained a prisoner of war until liberated by US troops in the spring of 1945, just days after Adolph Hitler's unlamented death. In a letter dated May 8, 1945, Arvis Ray wrote this to his parents, who hadn't heard from him since December, 1944:

Hello, Mother, how is everyone? Fine, I hope. For myself, I am the happiest I have ever been. I am a free man, back in the hands of the Americans, thank God, and on my way home. Will be there as soon as I can, so you can tell all the relatives. I am so excited I can't write. I don't know if you can make this out or not. Don't expect me to write too often. I will be on my way home from now on. The quickest way is too slow but I have lots of patience. Goodby. Your son, Arvis. (Russell County News, May 31, 1945.)
Arvis Ray was - and I say this with utmost respect - one tough old bird. May he be accorded the honor he earned and may he rest in the peace he so richly deserves. -Anon

This story was posted on 2011-05-24 22:08:33
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