104-year-old WWII veteran asks people to send him cards for Valentine's Day

Posted at 10:16 AM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 03:39:06-05

STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL/CNN) - A World War II veteran in California has one wish for Valentine's Day. He wants as many people as possible, including complete strangers, to send him a card.

He says the cards will be part of his long personal story whose final chapters are yet to be written.

Retired Maj. Bill White still wears the same dress blues made in the 1950s when he proudly served in the United States Marine Corps.

"I spent 30 years active duty and 54 retired," said White.

Among his many medals that he's most proud of is his Purple Heart -- a badge of honor for surviving the battle of Iwo Jima.

"The fact that I even survived is something. There weren't too many of us," said White.

On March 3, 1945, White led his Marines toward the front lines under heavy fire from the Japanese.

"When I was wounded, I didn't have any choice in the matter. A grenade blew up 6 inches from me," said White.

His injuries may have taken him off the battlefield, but his fighting spirit carried on in life.

"I'm still here at 104. I can't complain," said White.

At 104, the California native spends his days dining with his friends in Stockton, staying active and scrapbooking, in what's become of his favorite hobbies.

He keeps a lifetime full of memories carefully preserved on bookshelves in his room, each organized by year.

"It's kept me busy, just trying to keep track of everything that's happened to me where and when," said White.

This valentine's day, white is hoping to add to his collection with cards from people near and far.

"I'm going to save every one of them just as I did everything else up until now, and they'll become a personal part of my history," said White.

It’s part of his life story that's still being written

So, what’s his secret to a long life?

"Just keep breathing. I can tell you all sorts of ideas and suggestions, but if you're not breathing, it doesn't mean anything," said White.

And he keeps turning the page to the next chapter.

If you would like to send White a Valentine's Day card, you can address it to:

Operation Valentine

ATTN: Hold for Maj Bill White, USMC (Ret)
The Oaks at Inglewood
6725 Inglewood Ave.
Stockton, CA 95207