From another board....

As we all prepare to celebrate Christmas, whatever it means to us, and exchange messages of goodwill I thought I'd share this with you. Shamelessly copied from another board.

Dakota, you are more son than I could ever ask for. I can only hope I was half the dad. You taught me how to care until it hurts, you taught me how to smile again.

You taught me that life isn't so serious and sometimes you have to play. You have a big beautiful heart. Through life you need to keep it open and follow it. Never be afraid to be yourself. I will always be there in our park when you dream so we can still play together.

I hope someday you will have a son like mine. Make them smile and shine just like you. I hope someday you will understand why I didn't come home. Please be proud of me. Please don't stop loving life. Take in every breath like it's your first. I will always be there with you. I'll be in the sun, shadows, dreams, and joys of your life

The first letter is stained by the muddy river in Iraq where Jesse Givens died, smearing his handwriting, ripping apart his last words.

"I don't know if you will ever understand the light you brought into my life," reads one of the surviving sentences. "I want you to know I have every moment we ever spent together in my heart."

The second letter was found in his wallet - wet and wrinkled, but fully intact - pressed against a tiny flower he brought from Colorado. It begins with the end.

My angel, my wife, my love, my friend. If you're reading this, I won't be coming home . . .

The final letter arrived a month after the funerals, memorial services and gun salutes. It came in the mail, delivered to Melissa Givens in the maternity ward, where she had just given birth to the son Jesse Givens would never hold.

Inside was her husband's final draft:

My family:

I never thought I would be writing a letter like this, I really don't know where to start. I've been getting bad feelings though and well if you are reading this . . .

I searched all my life for a dream and I found it in you. . . . The happiest moments in my life all deal with my little family. You will never know how complete you have made me. Each and every one of you. You saved me from loneliness and taught me how to think beyond myself. You taught me how to live and to love. You opened my eyes to a world I never even dreamed existed . . .

The 34-year-old soldier with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment from Fort Carson had been in Iraq for a less than a month when he mailed the letter, unable to shake a sense of dread - and a need to say goodbye.

On May 1, as he helped to snuff fires set by insurgents, his tank crashed through a berm and fell into a canal off the Euphrates River. The rest of the crew escaped through a hatch, but Givens was trapped inside. Of all the dangers they were warned about, of all the terrible scenarios that went through the minds of his family, it was a scene nobody imagined:

Pfc. Jesse A. Givens drowned in the desert.
Omnia iam fient fieri quae posse negabam. ~ Everything which I used to say could not happen will happen now.----Ovid
Boss has a book of useful quotes! Still struggling with English personally, and waiting for the chancce to use the catapault one!
Was'nt trying to make light of the post though, still I expect his family got a nice machine signed letter from Bumsfelt.

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Hard to know whether to weep gallons or just vomit. The Americans, bless them, think that this sort of thing is not only cutesie and memorable, but disseminable to the world at large. It isn't, in my own humble opinion, and should only be held to the chest of the closest of family members and treasured there, where it will surely be deeply and rightly respected. The rest of us don't Need to Know; we have the Sun, Express, Mail and Mirror to give us Stories to Warm the Heart, and with less purple prose, in most cases. I wonder whether he was the driver who drove his tank into the canal.......?
If you look it up on snopes it likely is classed as false like the rest of such stories.
Probably written by someone who does not serve in any military.
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