Lost Love Found: Family finds decades-old military love letters
BRISTOL, Va. - Hundreds of military letters dating back to the early 1950s prepared to be thrown away are rescued. The letters found in a salvage yard in our area detail the communication between an airman and his fiancee. Now, a military kinship is helping to piece together this true love story. Lydia Clevinger's son, Justin, served in the United States Army. He deployed with troops to Iraq. During his time in the service, the two often relied on letters to communicate. That is why she understood the importance of letters dating back to the 1950s written between an airman and his fiancee. "She was from somewhere here in Tennessee, and he was stationed in Texas," Clevinger said. The postage on the envelopes dates back to 1952 and 1953 sent from an Oak Ridge address to airbases across Texas. Somehow, they ended up inside a wrecked vehicle in a southwest Virginia salvage yard prepared to be destroyed. "The letters were just so sweet and heartwarming. She wrote him every day, it seemed like,"Clevinger said. Clevinger and her daughter-in-law, Leslie Lester, hoped reading into a few of the letters would give a clue to who wrote them and received them ... One letter read, "Oh my darling, I hadn't realized how long it has been since I've heard your voice till I heard you tonight. No one else could ever love a voice that sounds so wonderful." Another letter counted down to a wedding date, "Another weekend you're gone, do you realize that in two months from next Wednesday, we will be married?" Even though they were getting information from the letters, Clevinger worried they did not have enough details to find the family. She contacted News 5 for a broader reach hoping someone might recognize names or pictures included. Clevinger said, "I would want it back. Like I said, my son's a veteran also, and it just means a lot to have those things to keep." We sat down and read through dozens of letters with them piecing together an incredible love story. "It's like they weren't married yet. It's like they were fixing to get married," Lester told us. Inside the envelopes, some of the items we found included pictures, a checklist for a husband-to-be, and cloth material taken from plans for a wedding day dress. However, when we read through the letters, there was no indication if the couple was ever reunited. It became our goal to find this family and see if we would learn of a happy ending. News 5 will bring those details on Thursday.