Dear Sir or Madame,
I have put off writing this letter far too long, but I was determined to get it done. Just days ago we all stood in somber recollection of the lives that were lost on Pearl Harbor during that unprecedented attack 67 years ago. It is a great honor to have the chance to thank you for your heroic actions during this nation’s fight for survival in World War II. There are really no words that can express the gratitude, admiration and respect that your service has earned by millions of people around the world. This letter is hardly a worthy thanks for all your deeds, but it’s something that I’ve been wanting to write for a while. It’s been in draft form for quite some time as I’m no master of words but I do hope that you will find this letter and read it.
All the media coverage, the books, the movies, the TV shows that have tried to retell the stories of your heroism surely do not do justice. Only in my wildest imagination could I begin to wonder what it must have been like to leave your friends, your spouse, your children, your mother and your father behind and travel to a strange country where you were met with bombardments on a typical day, a barrage of gunfire on the best of days and the unthinkable on the worst of days.
Whenever I read the numerous stories, autobiographies and historical documents about the brave things you did to preserve the American way I am simply humbled. I’ve heard you say “I just did what had to be done” over and over again as if what you did was just another day at work, but I honestly do not know if anyone in my generation, myself included, would have the courage to do the magnificent and, if duty required, horrific deeds that your country asked you to do such a bloody war.
I am sure there are things that you did that you’re not proud of, and it’s because of those things that you don’t consider yourself a hero…but one who acts as you did, selfless and without regard for your own life and comforts so that the lives of men and women around the world would benefit, truly falls under the definition of a hero. So many of your actions have done just that – even if the result wasn’t visible at the time you performed them, the effects are seen today and will be seen for all time.
And so it is with a great humility that I offer my thanks to you for all that you have done. You are truly a hero.