Join Our Community

A Letter To A Vietnam War Veteran From His Daughter

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

A Letter To A Vietnam War Veteran From His Daughter

Decades Old Letters Bring A Better Understanding Of PTSD
Alex  Woodard
Alex Woodard More by this author
Nov 11, 2015 at 09:00 AM

My new book, Letters From Vietnam is my quest to learn more about a man and a war he fights both in Vietnam and the hidden war with himself back at home. My hope for this book is to throw some light on the PTSD epidemic within the military.

We can start with Forgiveness, Compassion and Gratitude. These are your northern stars. I just came back from a journey into the past, and they were my northern stars, too.

How do I know these three northern stars belong to all of us? Because we’re connected. Like it or not. We’re under the same sky and we share the same story: the same triumphs, the same losses. We just call them by different names.  Your big loss might be your partner. Mine might be my dog. At the core, the space left behind is no different. It’s still the same story.

Told under the same sky.

And I think we’re all walking down the same road, it’s just that some of us are walking slower, some faster. Some of us walk the same stretch of road for a while together. Some of us try but never quite do.

And some of us go backwards, which is what happened to me. My journey led me back in time, into the heart of a soldier in Vietnam in 1968. I needed some help getting home, as we all do sometimes. And without forgiveness, compassion, and gratitude, I may not have made it back to tell the story.

The journey began with a letter to me.

Dear Alex,

What I have enclosed in this envelope may be like nothing else you have been sent.

My father died in 1998. After several years of suffering and inner exploration, I began to write him handwritten letters. The first ones were sent back into time to Vietnam where he was stationed before I was born.

Then I began to send them to heaven. I received letters back from him in my heart, imagining what he would want to say to me if he were here.

I feel you may have a song for me—the sender!

With love,


Jennifer had found a box of letters with Love Letters from Vietnam etched on top that her dad had written to his young wife, the words waiting in the box for decades until Jennifer opened the box. She was in a deep depression fueled by resentment, anger, and the broken relationship with the father she could no longer talk to, but found a way to reach him by answering the letters back in time, to Vietnam in 1968. These letters into the past started her on a path of forgiving her father and were the first steps toward healing her life.

Her real healing began when she started writing to him wherever he is now, asking questions in her search for answers about where she came from, why he did what he did, and what advice he would give her if he were still here. She imagined in her heart what he would say back to her and wrote back to herself from him, beginning with this letter:

Dear Jennifer,

I have the letters you sent to Vietnam a few months ago. I needed to let you know that your words found me, although I have always known your feelings. I am in a place now where I can feel your every heartbeat, hear your every joy and sorrow, and see the beauties of your world through the dreams you broadcast in the deep of the night. I can’t really describe for you where I am, but I can tell you that you sense it all around you when your mind is still and connected to love.

I have sent you several more letters, which will arrive whenever you have questions and whenever you need me. They will find you when you are in your quietest moments, when you need to hear my voice, when you ask for them to appear.

I love you, Dad

I wrote songs about these letters and wove their story of service, sacrifice, love and redemption through the lyrics and letters, as a way to honor the flawed soldier who sent them and the daughter who was brave enough to forgive him. The healing in the exchange of letters is palpable, and I’ve included a special way for you to experience the correspondence.

The ghost of the solider is floating through the voice of his son. You’ll hear his daughter, Jennifer, too, reading the letters she sent back in time to her dad as she searched for her own answers to help her heal her life. And you’ll hear me singing from the heart of the soldier and my friend Molly singing from the heart of Jennifer, as we walk the road between the two and tell you what we see.

Listen to an exclusive audiobook excerpt here or for more information about the book and to listen to several sample tracks from the CD here.

Forty million veterans have served in the United States military since 1776.

Twenty-two million of them are still alive. As high as a third of military veterans since the Vietnam War are believed at some point to experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Numbers are difficult to estimate because diagnosis and acceptance are still in relative infancy, but about half never seek treatment. Three hundred thousand cases of post-traumatic stress disorder are expected among the first 1.6 million Americans deployed to the Middle East in this century.

Twenty-two veterans kill themselves each day and in 2012 more soldiers died by their own hand than in combat.

It is my hope that For The Sender:Love Letters From Vietnam will provide a glimpse into the level of suffering all too often experienced by those who serve our country. And is the reason why I remember to practice Forgiveness, Compassion and Gratitude every day. 


About Author
Alex  Woodard
Singer-songwriter and Hay House author Alex Woodard has toured nationally behind five critically-acclaimed albums, earning prestigious industry nods and sharing the stage with some of today's most popular acts. His book and album package, For The Continue reading