A Veteran’s Letter to His Daughter: You Brought Peace to a Troubled Soul

Every member of a military family bears the burden of service. Sometimes that reality is heartbreaking.
A Veteran’s Letter to His Daughter: You Brought Peace to a Troubled Soul
The Military Child. (Lt. Col. John Hall, U.S. Army)
Battlefields Staff


Munchkin I love you, and even though I don’t always show it or act like it, please never doubt it. I know this is going to be hard because of the rough relationship we’ve had since you were born. I know, believing it will be twice as hard especially when you read these words and I’m gone.

You were brought into this world for a reason, and I always thought that was to save me. Which you did, more than you know. You came to me in what I thought was my darkest time, now I know it was just the start. See, I crawled out of multiple holes with your help, an infant, a baby lifting a man up. Saving him, pulling him to the light as the shadows of his past attempt to swallow him whole.

You brought peace to a troubled soul, and happiness to an empty heart. You gave me paradise when I was in the deepest parts of despair. You were my reason for it all, you pushed me to live. I’m sorry I took our home, our paradise, and destroyed it. Such a beautiful place full of joy and laughter. Overtaken by hate and discontent, darkness that even your brightest light couldn’t pierce it.

You will be the hardest on yourself and will question everything about me as well as in this letter. Rightfully so, as in one breath, I say you saved me but the next I apologize for leaving you. I should have fought harder, I should have been a better father, I should have been a better person.

(Cpl. Brittney Vito, U.S. Marine Corps)
(Cpl. Brittney Vito, U.S. Marine Corps)

One day you may look at me differently and be proud to call me dad. One day you may forgive me, and I will patiently wait for that day to come. I will be there when you cry out to me and hope I can comfort you—that you can feel me raising your chin and helping you up. I am forever sorry that I left you; I am forever sorry for taking so much from you. Our first daddy-daughter dance, our first fight over boys, our first road trip to see colleges. I’m so sorry for taking it all away and hope you can understand, I love you. I do truly love you, but Daddy wasn’t strong enough.

I tried, baby, and while you saved my soul more than once, this time it just wasn’t enough. You were brought to me to save me, and you did. I’m sorry I didn’t let you do it this time. I love you, Munchkin, forever and ever, don’t you forget it.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Clay D. is a father and a veteran of 5 war zones, with 9 combat deployments, 3 brothers killed in action, and 1 divorce. Most of his adult life has been spent in the Middle East and South East Asia.
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