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Soldier's letter delivered to daughter 7 decades late

| Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 9:21 p.m.

RENO, Nev. — A World War II soldier's heartfelt letter to his daughter has finally reached her, seven decades after it was written.

Peggy Eddington-Smith received the letter penned by her father, Pfc. John Eddington, as well as his Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals, during an emotional ceremony on Saturday in Dayton, Nev., about 40 miles southeast of Reno.

The father she never met wrote the three-page letter shortly after she was born and shortly before he died in Italy in June 1944. He sent it while stationed in Texas, just before he was sent overseas.

Getting his medals was nice, but the letter meant more because it made her feel closer to her father, Eddington-Smith said. She knew little about him because her mother could rarely bring herself to discuss the love of her life.

“The letter gave me more knowledge of who he was,” she said. “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.”

Donna Gregory of St. Louis found the soldier's letter and other World War II memorabilia in a box 14 years ago while helping her then-husband clean out his grandparents' home in Arnold, Mo., a St. Louis suburb.

Gregory's voice cracked with emotion as she read the letter on Saturday, bringing tears to Eddington-Smith and many in the crowd of about 150.

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