Nobody appreciates a handwritten letter like a U.S. Veteran. That�s why, when Tom Cittadino received a heartfelt letter from a teenage girl at a Veteran�s Day parade in Las Vegas, NV, he was determined to meet the person who wrote it.
The letter, signed only as �Carly,� thanked Cittadino for his service and explained what it meant to her and her family. Cittadano was so touched by the letter that he reached out to 13 Action News and asked for their help in identifying the author so that he could meet her in person.
“As a returning Vietnam vet, Carly’s letter was so well written and heartfelt it moved me,” Cittadino told KTNV. “It was a thank you I didn’t receive upon returning from Vietnam almost 50 years ago.�
After KTVN Action News aired the story in a broadcast, the King family reached out to connect with Cittadano.
Turns out, the letter was written by 15-year-old Carly King. King�s mother says her daughter has been writing letters to veterans since she was a little girl.
“I write letters to our Veterans in hopes to make a difference and give them the recognition they deserve,” King said.
Once the two were put in touch, they decided to meet up for lunch.
“It was a really special moment for me to be able to sit down and talk with Tom [Cittadino] about the hardships that he, along with all of our Veterans, went through,� King said. �One thing that really struck me is when Tom mentioned he couldn’t wait to get back home to the ‘world.��
King said it was an �honor� to meet with Cittadano, and he was cheered that he�d be able to share King�s letter with other vets.
“For him to refer to this as coming back to the U.S., the place he was in must have been horrific,” King said. “Nothing but kind words should have been thrown at Vietnam vets as they returned home.”
“I can�t comprehend why anyone would treat our heroes so poorly. The disrespect and hatred they received is beyond imaginable.” – Carly King
The unlikely duo became fast friends and after their lunch, Cittadano gave King his U.S. Veteran�s hat, an item she said she�d treasure forever.
The newfound friends already have plans to get together again soon.
Inspired by King�s act of kindness? You can say �thank you� to a veteran, new recruit or first responder by writing letters for Operation Gratitude. The letters are included in care packages that are sent to veterans and service members who are away from home. Click here to learn how you can get involved.
(Source: images Jill King)