After seeing the devastation of war, this 104-year-old Marine Corps veteran is using a holiday dedicated to love to create new beautiful memories — and he wants the public’s help. Maj. Bill White is asking for Valentine’s Day cards this year, from people across the globe.
White, who served in World War II, spends most of his days hanging out with friends in Stockton, Calif., and scrapbooking. It’s a hobby he loves so much that his home contains a bookshelf filled with collected items and scrapbooks of his memories in order by year.
“It’s kept me busy just trying to locate or keep track of what's happened to me, where, when,” White told KTXL.
According to WGN 9, during his time with the Marines, White led his battalion toward the front lines during the Battle of Iwo Jima on March 3, 1945. The infamous WWII battle claimed the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers and more than 20,000 Japanese soldiers.
"When I was wounded, I didn't have any choice in the matter,” White said. “A grenade blow up about 6 inches from me. The fact that I even survived is something. There weren't too many of us."
White not only survived that deadly battle, he was also awarded the coveted Purple Heart for his bravery and went on to do 30 years of active duty.
With so many stories to tell, the WWII veteran wants to expand his collection of memories on Valentine’s Day — and says he plans to cherish them. "I'll save every one of them like I've been saving little things that have come up until right now and they'll be a personal part of my history," White explained.
Though collecting memories can keep a 104-year-old busy, White said that his secret to a long life is even simpler: “Just keep breathing,” he advised.
Diane Wright, the executive director of the Oaks at Inglewood Assisted Living — where White lives — tells Yahoo Lifestyle that so far, the former Marine has received about 500 cards as well as gifts.
“We all are extremely surprised by the response,” Wright says. “The Major is overwhelmed, he keeps saying, ‘I don’t know what happened?’ [And] to keep him from being too overwhelmed we are helping him with opening the cards and gifts as well as screening for inappropriate items.”
Wright says that the only thing White is afraid of is how he will thank everyone for their gifts, which she said were meant to thank him. She expressed her appreciation for those that have showed an outpouring of support for the retired Marine. “I’m feeling blessed to see the good in all those who took the time to send a card or gift,” Wright says. “I have spent my 30-plus-year career in Senior Living and I’ve never witnessed this outpouring of love & support, and it is greatly deserved to be spent on Major Bill White.
For anyone is interested in sending White a card for Valentine’s Day they can mail them to this address:
ATTN: Hold for Maj Bill White, USMC (Ret)
The Oaks at Inglewood
6725 Inglewood Ave.
Stockton, CA 95207
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