Operation Valentine Bombards 104-year-old War Veteran… with 70,000 Love Letters

by - April 26, 2021



104-year-old US Marine veteran William White – who fought at Iwo Jima during World War 2 – today lives in an assisted living facility in Stockton, California. A beloved member there, he keeps everyone’s mood happy with his tales and personality.

One of the more curious anecdotes that William shared with a hint of regret was that even when his wife of 42 years had been alive, the two of them had never really celebrated Valentine’s day with cards or love letters.

old US war veteran



This anecdote inspired a fellow resident at the facility to actually launch a social media campaign without the knowledge of William. Codenamed ‘Operation Valentine’, he looked to recruit friends, family members and strangers to send a love letter to William for the coming Valentine’s Day.

He hoped to get around 50 to 100 cards to make the veteran’s day. In the end, he was off by a few.
Over 70,000 greeting cards and love letters poured in not only from all 50 states of America but also from foreign countries.

old war veteran



old war veteran

As was to be expected, the 104 year old was absolutely overwhelmed by the bombardment, with volunteers turning up at the facility to help him open and read all the lovely letters from across the world.

“It’s just too fantastic. 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.”
- William White

You can check out his video here:


Author's note:


Since 2017, every year, I take up the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge and focus on showcasing lovely real-life heroes from around the worldThe aim is to remind you that there is still plenty of good human beings all around you... to inspire you to smile once more.

Want more stories of compassion? 

I have Hundreds of 'Heroes of Kindness' to brighten your day here. Earlier editions can be viewed from the links below:

2017 edition (Articles - 40, Heroes - 67)
2018 edition (Articles - 34, Heroes - 52)
2019 edition (Articles - 31, Heroes - 42)
2020 edition (Articles - 30, Heroes - 64)


The 2020 Edition is also available as a book on Kindle too, if you want it that wayyy! (IndiaUS)

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26 comments

  1. Wow...Valentines day at 100 plus! What lengths they went to for him.Such a lovely gesture. Let me tell you that even I have never celebrated Valentines or gone on a date :)

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  2. This is so overwhelming. Wish we could do the same for our veterans. We remember army only during crisis
    Deepika Sharma

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  3. This is so heartwarming.

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  4. What a wonderful gesture by complete strangers! Guess it made up for all the years he missed out celebrating Valentines Day!

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  5. This is really awesome gesture. I wish we can do a similar one to our veterans. A lot of them die without any address or name for them.

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  6. "Operation valentine" sounds so cool and indeed a great effort and beautiful gesture. another heart warming story of love, kindness and care for others.

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  7. Operation Valentine sounds really a great gesture, valentines at age of 104 is sure a celebration, that too with 70000 cards. Wish this is spread to many such veterans and help bring smiles to many faces.

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  8. Kindness is not just a word any more. Your posts have made it real and listening to all these heartwarming stories of people who go out of their way to do these wonderful things. I am glad he could celebrate Valentine day in this amazing way.

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  9. 70000! Now that made up for all the Valentine Days of his entire life. What a thrill it must be for him!

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  10. Operation Valentine was successful because of 70,000 good-hearted people who sent love letters to the 104-year old war veteran.

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  11. Oh my God this is so heart touching, I am just loving the series!

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  12. This is so so heartwarming. He must have had some of the best moments of his life, reading or listening to those letters from all over the world.

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  13. It is so overwhelming, and amaizng to see this

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  14. Omg what a happy moment that would be. Sure he must have been overwhelmed

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  15. Wow! The real shower of love on Valentine's day I must say! 70,000 cards huge count. It is very common to shower love on your dear one's on Valentine's day. But its feels Awesome when you dpn't know the person but you contribute your bit to make him happy.

    Archana
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  16. What a wonderful gesture by complete strangers!70,000 cards sounds huge .Must be overwhelming

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  17. What a wonderful gesture by complete strangers!70,000 cards sounds huge .Must be overwhelming

    Jyoti

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