At 104 years old, Maj. Bill White feels it’s the sentimental things that count. So the World War II veteran called on his Stockton community to send him a few Valentine’s Day cards for his scrapbook collection.
Little did he know he would receive more than 300,000 handwritten messages would arrive from not just across the country, but as far away as South Korea and Australia, according to KTLA sister station KTXL in Sacramento.
“I’m as close to speechless as possible. I really don't know what to say or what I can say," White said in an interview with KTXL Thursday. “It's something that I've never had before and I'll probably never get again."
Among the many who sent White letters were President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. David H. Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, in which White served.
“It’s amazing, no doubt about it,” White said. “It’s something that’s just hard for me to believe.”
The notes came from all 50 states and dozens of countries, and more are continuing to arrive. Some delivered the messages in person, thanking the 104-year-old for his service.
"It represents the great honor that we feel, being able to come here, visit you and honor you for your great sacrifices," one man told him. "I salute you."
His daughter, Mary Huston, said they’ve been busy sorting through every box and reading every card.
“This is not what we expected,” Huston said. “Very honored, very honored and so appreciative to everyone for everything that they have sent.”