Peggy Eddington-Smith received a heartfelt letter seven decades after it was written by the father she never met while he was stationed in Texas, before being sent overseas during World War II.
U.S. News indicated that Eddington-Smith received the letter written by her father, Pfc. John Eddington, along with his Purple Heart and Bronze Heart medals at a very emotional ceremony held in Dayton, Nevada. The letter was found by Donna Gregory of St. Louis while she was helping in-laws clean out their home in a St. Louis suburb 14 years ago.
Gregory and Eddington-Smith are unsure of the connection between the owners and the house where the letter and memorabilia were found and Eddington-Smith’s father The box also contained Pfc. Eddington’s high school diploma, 16 letters to his mother, his military dog tags , draft card, and newspaper clips. Gregory was able to locate Eddington-Smith after conducting searches in libraries and on the Internet.
Peggy Eddington-Smith told the Associated Press that “The letter gave me more knowledge of who he was…He poured out his heart to me, and a lot of men don’t put that kind of emotion in writing. I’m just overwhelmed by everything, trying to absorb everything.” The three page letter contained a message for his wife as well as the little daughter he had not yet seen, and was written shortly after she was born. Her mother, who thought Eddington was the perfect man, could not bear to discuss her husband never remarried - she died in 1997.
Pfc. Eddington died in Italy in June 1944. In his letter he told his daughter that he loved her and that “your mother and daddy…are going to give you everything we can. We will always give you all the love we have.” As Gregory read the letter during the ceremony to a crowd of about 150 people, her voice cracked with emotion.
Peggy Eddington-Smith cried.