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Pictures | Wed Feb 12, 2020 | 2:40pm EST

Thousands of Valentines for WWII veteran

William White, a 104-year-old U.S. Marine veteran who earned a Purple Heart in World War Two (seen here with one of his great granddaughters), 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.

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

William White, a 104-year-old U.S. Marine veteran who earned a Purple Heart in World War Two (seen here with one of his great granddaughters), is celebrating Valentine's Day this year like never before, surrounded by a mountain of 70,000 love letters...more

William White, a 104-year-old U.S. Marine veteran who earned a Purple Heart in World War Two (seen here with one of his great granddaughters), 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. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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The cards and notes to "Major Bill," a retired major who lives in an assisted living facility in Stockton, California, began pouring in after a fellow resident launched a social media campaign called "Operation Valentine," asking friends and strangers alike to send greetings to honor White. Some of them now hang in the community dining room.

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

The cards and notes to "Major Bill," a retired major who lives in an assisted living facility in Stockton, California, began pouring in after a fellow resident launched a social media campaign called "Operation Valentine," asking friends and...more

The cards and notes to "Major Bill," a retired major who lives in an assisted living facility in Stockton, California, began pouring in after a fellow resident launched a social media campaign called "Operation Valentine," asking friends and strangers alike to send greetings to honor White. Some of them now hang in the community dining room. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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At the outset, the goal was a modest 100 cards - about one for every one of White's birthdays - but the response has outstripped all expectations. "It's just too fantastic," said White, surrounded by waist-high stacks of postal boxes filled with cards.

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

At the outset, the goal was a modest 100 cards - about one for every one of White's birthdays - but the response has outstripped all expectations. "It's just too fantastic," said White, surrounded by waist-high stacks of postal boxes filled with...more

At the outset, the goal was a modest 100 cards - about one for every one of White's birthdays - but the response has outstripped all expectations. "It's just too fantastic," said White, surrounded by waist-high stacks of postal boxes filled with cards. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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On a recent day, White's great-granddaughter Abigail Sawyer, 9 (R), delivered a bundle of cards from her fourth grade class, many of them decorated with the American flag.

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

On a recent day, White's great-granddaughter Abigail Sawyer, 9 (R), delivered a bundle of cards from her fourth grade class, many of them decorated with the American flag. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

On a recent day, White's great-granddaughter Abigail Sawyer, 9 (R), delivered a bundle of cards from her fourth grade class, many of them decorated with the American flag. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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Nicole Sawyer, 7-year-old great granddaughter of Major Bill White, reads Valentine's Day cards. A week before Valentine's Day, which lands on Friday this year, at least 70,000 pieces of correspondence had arrived from people in every U.S. state and several foreign countries.

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Nicole Sawyer, 7-year-old great granddaughter of Major Bill White, reads Valentine's Day cards. A week before Valentine's Day, which lands on Friday this year, at least 70,000 pieces of correspondence had arrived from people in every U.S. state and...more

Nicole Sawyer, 7-year-old great granddaughter of Major Bill White, reads Valentine's Day cards. A week before Valentine's Day, which lands on Friday this year, at least 70,000 pieces of correspondence had arrived from people in every U.S. state and several foreign countries. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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So much mail has been delivered that White's family has had to enlist volunteers to help open the cards and read the warm wishes to White, who retired after 35 years of active service, including time in the Pacific theater of WWII, when he was wounded at Iwo Jima.

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

So much mail has been delivered that White's family has had to enlist volunteers to help open the cards and read the warm wishes to White, who retired after 35 years of active service, including time in the Pacific theater of WWII, when he was...more

So much mail has been delivered that White's family has had to enlist volunteers to help open the cards and read the warm wishes to White, who retired after 35 years of active service, including time in the Pacific theater of WWII, when he was wounded at Iwo Jima. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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For those sending Valentines, White represents something bigger than himself. Many of them have conveyed a deep appreciation not only to White for his service, but to all veterans who died too soon to hear their gratitude.

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

For those sending Valentines, White represents something bigger than himself. Many of them have conveyed a deep appreciation not only to White for his service, but to all veterans who died too soon to hear their gratitude. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

For those sending Valentines, White represents something bigger than himself. Many of them have conveyed a deep appreciation not only to White for his service, but to all veterans who died too soon to hear their gratitude. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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Abigail Sawyer admires Bill White s medals while her grandmother Mary Huston sorts through Valentine s Day cards. A woman identified only as Jane told White that her late grandfather also fought in World War Two as a U.S. Army paratrooper. Had he lived, she said, he would be turning 100 years old this year. "I miss him so much," she wrote. "By sending you this card, I feel as though I am sending my grandfather a card."

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Abigail Sawyer admires Bill White s medals while her grandmother Mary Huston sorts through Valentine s Day cards. A woman identified only as Jane told White that her late grandfather also fought in World War Two as a U.S. Army paratrooper. Had he...more

Abigail Sawyer admires Bill White s medals while her grandmother Mary Huston sorts through Valentine s Day cards. A woman identified only as Jane told White that her late grandfather also fought in World War Two as a U.S. Army paratrooper. Had he lived, she said, he would be turning 100 years old this year. "I miss him so much," she wrote. "By sending you this card, I feel as though I am sending my grandfather a card." REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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Major Bill White displays his memorabilia at his home. It's all new to White, who said he never really celebrated Valentine's Day, even when his wife of 42 years was alive.

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White displays his memorabilia at his home. It's all new to White, who said he never really celebrated Valentine's Day, even when his wife of 42 years was alive. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White displays his memorabilia at his home. It's all new to White, who said he never really celebrated Valentine's Day, even when his wife of 42 years was alive. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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Thousands of Valentine s Day cards hang at the community dining room at his assisted living facility. "It's something I've never heard of or seen," White said. "All of a sudden here, like a ton of bricks. I'm sort of speechless."

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Thousands of Valentine s Day cards hang at the community dining room at his assisted living facility. "It's something I've never heard of or seen," White said. "All of a sudden here, like a ton of bricks. I'm sort of speechless." REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Thousands of Valentine s Day cards hang at the community dining room at his assisted living facility. "It's something I've never heard of or seen," White said. "All of a sudden here, like a ton of bricks. I'm sort of speechless." REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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White's great granddaughter Abigail Sawyer reads Valentine's Day cards sent to him. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

White's great granddaughter Abigail Sawyer reads Valentine's Day cards sent to him. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

White's great granddaughter Abigail Sawyer reads Valentine's Day cards sent to him. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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11 / 20
Major Bill White points to an iconic photograph depicting the raising of the United States flag atop Mount Suribachi, displayed in a table he constructed at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White points to an iconic photograph depicting the raising of the United States flag atop Mount Suribachi, displayed in a table he constructed at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White points to an iconic photograph depicting the raising of the United States flag atop Mount Suribachi, displayed in a table he constructed at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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White's daughter Mary Huston sorts through cards with his great granddaughters. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

White's daughter Mary Huston sorts through cards with his great granddaughters. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

White's daughter Mary Huston sorts through cards with his great granddaughters. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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Major Bill White wears dress blues featuring the Purple Heart at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White wears dress blues featuring the Purple Heart at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White wears dress blues featuring the Purple Heart at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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Boxes containing thousands of Valentine s Day cards sent to Major Bill White are seen at his home in Stockton, California. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Boxes containing thousands of Valentine s Day cards sent to Major Bill White are seen at his home in Stockton, California. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Boxes containing thousands of Valentine s Day cards sent to Major Bill White are seen at his home in Stockton, California. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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Major Bill White reads through Valentine's Day cards with his great granddaughters Abigail, 9, and Nicole, 7. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White reads through Valentine's Day cards with his great granddaughters Abigail, 9, and Nicole, 7. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White reads through Valentine's Day cards with his great granddaughters Abigail, 9, and Nicole, 7. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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Major Bill White sits among thousands of Valentine s Day cards. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White sits among thousands of Valentine s Day cards. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White sits among thousands of Valentine s Day cards. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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Major Bill White sits for a portrait at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White sits for a portrait at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White sits for a portrait at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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Major Bill White displays his war memorabilia at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White displays his war memorabilia at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White displays his war memorabilia at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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Major Bill White sits among thousands of Valentine s Day cards at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White sits among thousands of Valentine s Day cards at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

Major Bill White sits among thousands of Valentine s Day cards at his home. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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