“Last Letter Home”

A soldier's final words to his family, set to music.

Topics: Iraq, National security, Middle East,

The description accompanying this poignant video on YouTube reads: “US Army Pfc. Jesse Givens died in Iraq in the service of his country on the first of May, 2003, in his 34th year. He wrote this letter to his wife Melissa, his five year-old son Dakota (nicknamed ‘Toad’) and his unborn child Carson (nicknamed ‘Bean’). He asked Melissa not to open the envelope unless he was killed. ‘Please, only read it if I don’t come home,’ he wrote. ‘Please put it away and hopefully you will never have to read it.’”

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This musical dramatization of Pfc. Given’s letter features baritone Andrew Garland lip-synching his own recording, scored by Lee Hoiby. (Thanks to Mark S. for the tip.)

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