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A Soldier's Last Letter to His Family
Private First Class Jesse Givens served in Iraq for only three weeks before tragedy struck. His wife Melissa says that when Jesse was parked on the side of a riverbank in Iraq, the land gave way, and he toppled into the river. Jesse left behind a beautiful son, Dakota, who he called Toad. He never met his baby boy, Carson, who was born four weeks after Jesse was killed. Jesse called his unborn son Bean.

Melissa says it was hard to accept Jesse was gone because, due to the delay of overseas postal deliveries, letters continued to arrive after his death. Melissa brought a letter her husband wrote only a few days before he died. He had instructed her to only read it if he didn't come home.

"My family. I never thought I would be writing a letter like this. I really don't know where to start, but I've been getting bad feelings. … [Melissa,] I married you for my lifetime and that's how long I'll be with you. Please keep our babies safe and please find it in your heart to forgive me for leaving you alone. Teach our babies to live life to the fullest and tell yourself to do the same. I will always want you, need you and love you in my heart, my mind and my soul. Do me a favor, after you tuck Toad and Bean in, give them hugs and kisses for me. Go outside and look at the stars and count them. Don't forget to smile. Love always, your husband Jess."
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FROM: Meet the Heroes in the Headlines
Published on December 01, 2004

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