(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.
The reason? He says the cards will be part of his long personal story whose final chapters are yet to be written.
Major 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,” he said.
Among his many medals is the one he’s most proud of, the 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,” he said.
On March 3, 1945, Major 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 six inches from me,” he said.
His injuries may have taken him off the battlefield, but his fighting spirit carried on in life.
At 104, the California native spends his days dining with his friends in Stockton, staying active and scrapbooking, in what’s become one 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,” he said.
And this Valentine’s Day, Major 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.”
A life story that’s still being written…the secret?
“Just keep breathing. I can tell you all sorts of ideas and suggestions, but if you’re not breathing, it doesn’t mean anything.”
And keep turning the page to the next chapter.
Cards can be sent to this address:
The Oaks at Inglewood
6725 Inglewood Avenue
Stockton, California 95207