Original Document
Original Document
Donald B. Miller, Memories of the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1976.

Outside my window the snow is softly drifting down in feathery white clouds, covering the bleak landscape with a beautiful whiteness. Through its haze I can dimly glimpse the background of the nearby mountains, those wooded hills whose marvelous beauty has never ceased to impress me with their magnificence.

It brings back memories, this first snow of the season, memories of that day, which, if judged by time, means nothing, a mere interlude, but judged by the wealth of experience, and the gain in mental and physical attributes, a lifetime, that day when we first viewed this camp of ours.

We were new to the game then, wondering what the future held in store for us - if we would be able to stick it out - or, as we learned to call it afterward, take it. Little did we realize then that there was untold happiness awaiting us in this forest refuge, away from the artificial pleasures of the city. Troubles, yes, we are never immune from them, whether in the midst of a maddening throng, or in a quiet, sylvan hideaway. But the greatest troubles for us were ended - starvation, want, and suffering.

And so, with our biggest problems solved, we were better able to cope with the small ones. We determined to do our best. Some of us failed. Attribute that to human weakness; they simply "couldn't take it." But the rest of us proved that we stand on our own feet, solve our own problems, and eventually come out on top.

There may be some people who will say, "You had to stick it out, there was no other choice." Perhaps you are right, my friends, but an unhappy experience is best forgotten - and we are not trying to forget. We shall all cherish the memory of this brief adventure. We shall be proud to have been members of this army of pioneers, as our forefathers were proud of being the forerunners of a great nation.

We say farewell with regret, but face the future with enthusiasm, feeling that we have proven ourselves men.

Enrollee Donald B. Miller
Co. 305 Richmond Furnace, Pennsylvania

Credit: Alexander Lacy, The Soil Soldiers: The Civilian Conservation Corps in the Great Depression, Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Co., 1976.
Back to Top