Throughout my life you have always been there, supportive and loving. And although I don't see you much I wanted to share what you have always meant to me and how I have come to see what you mean in my life.
Before I was ever born or dreamed up you became a part of my life. Stepping in as a father to my mom and her brothers and as a husband to my grandma when the stresses and horrors of, I believe, the Vietnam War took its toll on my (biological) grandpa. You carried with you your own experiences and picked up the pieces of a broken family and made them whole again, giving young children a father and, eventually, this girl someone to look up to and love.
I don't know much of anything about you're service in the Korean War but the passion and pride you have in your eyes when you have talked to me about your time in the Army makes me smile even just to think about. As time has gone on I have come to realize how much your memories, love, and support mean to me. But I what you may not realize is the passion you have inspired in me. You, as well as my other family members that have served, have left me a legacy that I want to carry on. You, all of you, have inspired me to want to serve my country. While it may not be in the Army and while it may not end up being Active Duty I know that I would have your full support and that you may even be proud of me.
To tell you all of this and the full extent of what you mean to me in person probably wouldn't come out like this above. I would start to tear up and cry at the thought of what you mean to me and from there on it would become jumbled mess of words that probably wouldn't make much sense, hence the letter that doesn't even convey how much you mean to me and how much I love you.
I know that I have could easily just thanked you for your service to our beloved country and left this letter at that but that just doesn't do justice to what I wanted to say. Being the only grandpa in my life you have had an enormous impact and I don't know how different my life would have been without you (and, quite frankly, I don't want to know). I am so blessed and lucky to have a grandpa as great as you. So in your granddaughter's eyes you are one in a billion. You are brave, courageous, inspiring, loving, and so much more. In my eyes you have inspired me to be my best always and you have been one of my biggest motivators all of my life, even though you don't know it.
Maybe I have written this in the wrong place, as this is supposed to be a love letter but I do love you, grandpa, and I wanted to share what you have meant to me. So to close, in your granddaughter's eyes you are all I could want to be in many aspects. I hope one day I am as brave and strong as you were in service to your country and still are through your health problems. I hope to be as loving and understanding in all situations I encounter in my life. I hope to be as supportive as you have been for me and I hope that the passions you have inspired in me show through and inspire those around me.
I love you and thank you for your service,
*I write this letter anonymously as I wish the focus to be on the feelings and emotions that the brave people in my life have created.
This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html.