Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Serve. — To the Little Kid in Every Soldier.

on November 11, 2013

4 Feb 76

En Route–USS Jesse L. Brown 

Rota, Spain

Hi Mother,

I finally received some mail. It had been over a month since the last letter I got.

We are in the Med. now. It’s been pretty rough out the past couple of days. I haven’t felt too much like writing letters. It’s calm out today. So thought I’d get some writing done.

There’s not much going on here, only getting ready for coming home.  Only got three weeks left now. The big thing I’ve been doing is starting to walk the floor at night waiting for the telegram from home saying Jan has had the baby and is all right. I’m sure glad you will be down and I hope Dad comes, too.

How’s work? Sounds like you like it pretty good. I’m glad you like it there. I think I could like that area, too. Kinda nice.

We’re thinking about moving there after I get out. The only thing I would need is a good job. I guess we’ll settle where ever the jobs are the best.

Well. Guess I’ll close. I’ll write later.

Take care.



P.S. You don’t need to get me anything for my birthday. I’ve got all I need, you and Dad and my little family. 

This is a letter that my Dad wrote to his Momma in 1976. He was overseas, in the Navy, waiting for word that his new son had arrived.

I think it is such a simple and sweet letter. There is an innocence to this letter…an innocence that must be a true part of every soldier, of every veteran. It sounds just like the voice of a  little boy. A little boy in a grown up body. Far, far, far away from home. A little worried. A little homesick. A little nostalgic.

A little boy who writes to his Momma to tell her that he’s coming home. That he’s looking forward to the ‘what’s next’ of his life.

A ‘what’s next’ that maybe wasn’t so guaranteed just a few years before.

In 1968, my Dad headed down to the little small town post office. He opened up the small, square metal door and looked inside.

There. It. Was.

An envelope. An envelope that looked official.  An envelope with the seal of the President of the United States of America on it. An envelope that could have sealed his fate in a much different way.

My Dad didn’t take it out of the mailbox. As a matter of fact, he never touched it.

But he did leave the post office and drove straight to the U.S. Navy recruiter and enlisted.

He enlisted to serve. To serve his country. 

Serve. Even as a little boy in a grown up body, who will always miss his Momma. No matter what.

Today’s Action Challenge has two parts: 1.Thank someone who has served their country. Don’t wait until the next Veteran’s Day. Just randomly walk up to them and say, “Thank you.” Thank you for being so brave. Thank you for going so far away from home, from everything familiar, from everything known. To head into a place that can be scary and uncertain and maybe dangerous. Just thank you for doing all of that. Say ‘Thank you”…

And then. 2. Go out and serve in your own way. Help others. Do what you know; do what you can. You don’t have to put on a uniform. Just take your gifts and your talents and go…serve others.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Dad letter


4 responses to “Serve. — To the Little Kid in Every Soldier.

  1. You might enjoy this poem about families and absence, “While He’s Away: A Poem About Being Gone.”

    • MommyVerbs says:

      I’m not sure enjoy is the right word, … but your words really do capture the sacrifice that comes with service. Let’s remember to thank the families of the soldiers. They sacrifice so much at the same time. Thank you…

  2. Irvine P. Freeley says:

    I can’t imagine being 18 and going through a draft process and being out of a boat in the middle of nowhere 1,000 miles from home. Amazing. Good job, Gary.

  3. Robbie says:

    What a sweet letter.

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