Back at Camp Lejeuene, we waited for our day to hop on a plane and fly back to our families in our own hometown. At least we could make phone calls, sleep in a warm bed, and eat normal again. Shortly before I left, I had nightmares about dying in the war. I couldn't sleep so I got up and went for a walk to clear my head. The more I thought about dying, the more I thought about the letter I wrote; the one that would be mailed if I died in the war. When I got back to my room, I sat at the same desk I was sitting at when I wrote my final letter home if I didn't survive the war. I started it December 4, 1990 but didn't actually finish it until much later. I promised to share it with you all and so here it is.
"To my loving and supporting family. If you are reading this then obviously I didn’t survive the war. You must have a lot of questions. 'What happened?' “Was he killed by friendly fire, in combat, or in an accident?' 'Did he suffer long or was it quick?' And perhaps the most asked question people have when a loved one dies is, 'Why did God allow this?' Although I cannot answer all of these questions for you, the only important answer I can provide is that I am in good hands; it was my time to go. My soul is at rest and no harm can come to me ever again. If only you could be where I am now."
"I am writing this letter from Camp Lejeune on December 4, 1990, so obviously I don’t know yet what it will be like for me in the war. I don’t know how (or if) I will die, or when that time will come. I don’t know if I will suffer a slow death or die instantly. I know one thing in my heart and that is that I have a home in heaven when my time on earth is over. If I can give any comfort at all, have comfort in that. Don’t be angry with God. He never promised us an eternal life on earth. He gave us a life to live however we wanted and our decisions determine the outcome of our life. Although I am nowhere near perfect, my decision to give my life to Jesus has determined whether or not I would have a home in heaven for eternity. In that you can rejoice!"
"I am not afraid to die. I would rather survive and be reunited with you all for many years to come, but we don't live in this world forever. What we do in this life matters. I want my time on earth to matter. And that is why I share my faith with others, and the reason why my last, dying words to you are to encourage each and every one of you to have faith in God, and live faithfully for Him. If you do, we will be reunited again, but in a much better place, where there is no such thing as time, only forever.
The Marine Corps motto is 'Semper Fi.' It is Latin for 'Always faithful.' It is a good motto to have for every believer in Christ. Stay faithful, and together we will praise Him in the Heavens.
Now I leave you with one final Scripture written by the Apostle Pauls in Philippians 3:20: 'But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.' So stay faithful to Him, and instead of saying 'Goodbye,' I will say, 'See you another time.'"
"With love to my God, my country, my Corps, and my family,
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace."