Christmas in Vietnam, five decades ago

Published: Monday, December 23, 2013 at 11:16 AM.

Christmas was a particularly vulnerable time for the soldiers. “Christmas was bad because I couldn’t be home with the wife and kids,” he said. “Christmas dinner was whatever we could scrounge. One year they called a truce on Christmas Day and we were all playing pinochle at noon, when all hell broke loose.”

The children’s letters were a ray of sunshine in a frightening existence. They were shared among Sack and his friends and faithfully answered.

“When we sat and read the letters and it was like we were kids again. For a couple of hours we really forgot where we were at. It is my happiest memory of Vietnam ,” Sack said.

Sack told Barbara about his life and his own family with six daughters. He went on to serve three tours of duty in Southeast Asia., two in Vietnam and one in Thailand .

He was touched by the children’s letters but, over time, they became a distant memory and he didn’t save Barbara’s missive, a fact he would later regret.

In January 2012, he got the surprise of a lifetime when he received an envelope containing his original letter of reply to Barbara including the original envelope with free postage. It also contained a letter of reply from Barbara.

Barbara was now a grown woman, living in Daytona Beach , her married name Duffy, with a career and a family of her own.

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