'Your Father Will Not Be Home for Christmas': Letter to 6-Year-Old, 1969

This December, the final 8,000 military personnel in Iraq will be coming home for the holidays as the eight-year military operation in the country comes to a close. But for many more military families with relatives in Afghanistan, the season will be difficult.

From the National Archives' Text Message blog, the following letter illustrates what decades of military families have felt this time of year. In December 1969, six-year-old Shannon Hensley addresses her father's commanding officer, asking, "Will you please let my daddy come home for Christmas?" 

The officer replied with a promise: "Your father, Shannon, will not be home for Christmas this year, but will serve for you and his country on Christmas Day, in hopes that you, your mother and two sisters, will never have to spend another Christmas alone--without your daddy."

Click on the images below for a closer view.

First-Page.jpgSecond-Page.jpg

Presented by

Brian Resnick is a staff correspondent at National Journal and a former producer of The Atlantic's National channel.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in National

Just In