On December 25, 1970, John Metzler received a letter from a stranger, containing a message that helped get him through the darkest of days.
Metzler was 23 and serving in the Vietnam War as an Army helicopter sniper. He woke up every day not knowing if he would survive, he told CBS News, and never received any words of encouragement. That Christmas, he was handed a letter, written by a sixth grade student named DonnaCaye. She didn't know who would receive the note, as it was addressed to "Serviceman," but her message was heartfelt. "I want to give my sincere thanks for going over to war to fight for us," DonnaCaye wrote. "This class hopes you are able to come home."
Being thanked by this young girl meant everything to Metzler, and he still has that letter, keeping it behind a frame in his Wendell, Idaho, home. Metzler recently asked his family if they could track down DonnaCaye so he could let her know how much her letter meant to him. They were able to find DonnaCaye Ludemann Sica in Florida, and she flew to Idaho to surprise Metzler. She remembers writing the letter, she told CBS News, and thought it was incredible that she "could have the opportunity to write to a serviceman and maybe make his life a little simpler for a couple of minutes." Metzler was moved to tears when they met, and said he believes the letter "means more today than it did when I got it." Catherine Garcia
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