Veteran gets 70,000 Valentine’s from people around the world.
A 104-year-old U.S. Marine veteran in Stockton, California, is getting lots of love this week thanks to people all over the world.
World War II veteran Maj. William White loves to scrapbook and keeps all of his precious memories organized in folders, according to Fox 40.
“It’s kept me busy just trying to locate or keep track of what’s happened to me, where, when,” he stated.
One of White’s most prized possessions is his Purple Heart, the badge of honor he received for fighting in the Battle of Iwo Jima in March 1945.
Under heavy fire, White led his fellow marines to the front lines to confront the Japanese.
“When I was wounded, I didn’t have any choice. I had a grenade blow up about 6 inches from me,” he said.
“The bloody battle between the US Marines and Imperial Army of Japan lasted five weeks, killing nearly 7,000 US Marines and more than 20,000 Japanese fighters,” according to KTLA.
The veteran said the fact that he survived was amazing because so many lives were lost.
“There weren’t too many of us,” he commented.
This year, White wanted to add to his memory collection so a friend at his assisted living facility launched a social media campaign called “Operation Valentine” and asked people to send him cards.
Friday, at least 70,000 pieces of mail arrived for White from people all over the United States and around the world, according to Reuters.
“It’s just too fantastic,” the veteran said as he looked at the waist-high stacks of cards surrounding him.
Since their arrival, his family has enlisted volunteers to open and read the cards to him.
A woman named Jane wrote that her late grandfather had served as a U.S. Army paratrooper during World War II. This year would have marked his 100th birthday.
“I miss him so much. By sending you this card, I feel as though I am sending my grandfather a card,” she said.
Many of the senders thanked White for his service and wrote that it was a way for them to express their gratitude to those who lost their lives in service to their country.
Even though White said he had never really celebrated Valentine’s Day in the past, this year things were different.
“It’s something I’ve never heard of or seen. All of a sudden here, like a ton of bricks. I’m sort of speechless,” he concluded.
If you would like to send a Valentine’s Day card to Maj. White, mail to:
ATTN: Hold for Maj Bill White, USMC (Ret)
The Oaks at Inglewood
6725 Inglewood Ave.
Stockton, CA 95207