Men and women who choose to join the armed services to fight for our country sacrifice many things. Not only are they risking their own lives, but they're also sacrificing their family, friends, homes, and ultimately, their sanity. This man was a soldier during the Vietnam War, and just when he felt like giving up, he was given a letter that would help keep him alive.
John Metzler was a 23-year-old Army helicopter sniper who was sent overseas to fight in the Vietnam War.
Every single day that he was over there, John was consumed with fear that it was going to be his last day on this Earth. One day, John received a letter that gave him a bit of hope in a world full of chaos and destruction.
The letter didn't come from a family member waiting for John's safe return. In fact, the letter came from a complete stranger.
As a part of a classroom excitement, a 6th grader at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and School in Hollywood, Florida, DonnaCaye Ludemann, wrote John a letter for the holidays.
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John received the letter in 1970, but it meant much more to him than just a friendly hello.
In the letter, DonnaCaye wrote: "Dear Serviceman, I’m a student at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and School. I want to give my sincere thanks for going over to war to fight for us … The class hopes you will be able to come home …" These words may be simple, but they changed John's perspective.
Only a soldier truly understands what it's like to be caught up in the middle of a war.
They have to face death every single day and live with the things that they've had to go through for the rest of their lives. It's a sad fact that many soldiers don't ever make it back home, and many that do come back, don't come back the same.
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John is 71-years-old now, but he still thinks about the letter that the little girl wrote to him.
He keeps the letter framed inside of his home in Wendell, Idaho. To John, the letter was more than a nice gesture, it gave him the strength to survive the war so he could safely make it back home to his loved ones.