From Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul

To Any Service Member

During the Persian Gulf War, I was stationed aboard the naval amphibious ship USS Nassau. As a senior Marine intelligence analyst, my workdays were routinely twelve to sixteen hours long. Like all the veterans, we looked forward to receiving mail from home.

Unlike the Vietnam War, the Gulf War found support among most Americans. As a result, we soldiers received an enormous amount of “To any service member” mail from the States. I never took any of those letters, since I wrote to my wife and two children on a daily basis, as well as occasionally writing notes to my daughter’s classroom, and I didn’t feel I had time to write to anyone else.

After five or six months of hearing the mail orderly announcing the availability of “To any service member” mail, I decided to take a few of the letters. I planned, as time permitted, to drop them a line telling them “Thanks” for their support.

I picked up three letters, and placed them in my cargo pocket and proceeded back to work. Over the next week or so, I started responding to the letters. When it came time to answer the third letter, I noticed it had no return address, but a Colorado postmark, which made me think longingly of home. I had missed spending Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s with my family, and I was really lonesome for them.

I opened the card and started to read the letter enclosed. About the third or fourth sentence down, it read,“My daddy is a Marine over there, if you see him tell him hi and I love and miss him.” This statement really touched me and made me miss my family even more. I looked down to the signature—and sat in stunned silence as tears filled my eyes.

My own daughter Chris had signed the letter.

Nick Hill

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