William White, a 104-year-old U.S. Marine veteran who earned a Purple Heart in World War Two, is celebrating Valentine’s Day this year like never before, surrounded by a mountain of 70,000 love letters and well-wishes sent from all over the world.
All addressed to 'Major Bill' White - a 104-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served in World War II.
The cards and notes are part of 'Operation Valentine', a project meant to honor the Purple Heart veteran, who now lives in an assisted living facility in Stockton, California.
The letters started pouring in after a fellow resident, in a social media post, called on people to send cards to White as a way to honor him.
One hundred cards was the goal.
But so far, ahead of Valentine's Day on Friday (February 14), at least 70,000 have come in.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MAJOR WILLIAM 'BILL' C.
WHITE, MARINE CORPS VETERAN, SAYING: "It leaves me sort of speechless in a way.
When I think of what has been done here is something I've never heard of or seen, had done to me before and all of a sudden here like a ton of bricks, it is.
Many writers express their appreciation for White, who served for 35 years and was wounded at Iwo Jima.
But, according to White's daughter, they also express gratitude toward the veterans who died too soon.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MARY HUSTON, MAJOR BILL WHITE'S DAUGHTER, SAYING: "And we did get one card that I think sums up what a lot of people are feeling.
And it's from written by Jane.
And she says that her grandfather was an Army paratrooper in World War 2 and he would have turned 100 years old this year.
And she says, I miss him so much.
By sending you this card, I feel as though I am sending my grandfather a card." With so many unopened envelopes and more rolling in, White's family has enlisted volunteers to help open and read to him what's inside.
Though it's all new to him.
White says he actually never really celebrated Valentine's Day, even when his wife of 42 years was alive.