Originally from the WSJ last Friday...
But its the letters to be opened in the event of a death that are the most difficult to listen to, and at the same time the most tender, the most loving. Wearing a red sweater with a heart shaped U.S. flag knit into the front, Melissa Givens, the widow of Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, reads from a letter he wrote to her and their two sons:
"My family, I never thought that I would be writing a letter like this, I really don't know where to start. I've been getting bad feelings though and well if you're reading this...The happiest moments in my life all dealt with my little family. I will always have with me the small moments we all shared. the moments when you quit taking life so serious and smiled. The sounds of a beautiful boy's laughter or the simple nudge of a baby unborn. Each one of you. You saved me from the loneliness and taught me how to think beyond myself...Don't ever think that since I wasn't around that I didn't love you. You were conceived of love and I came to this terrible place for love...Please understand that I had to be gone so that I could take care of my family...Do me a favor. After you tuck Toad and Bean in, give them hugs and kisses from me. Go outside and look at the stars and count them. Don't forget to smile."
Pfc. Givens, assigned to Second Squadron, Third Armored Calvary Regiment out of Fort Carson, Colorado, died in a tank accident on May 1, 2003. He was 34 years old.