Letter soldier wrote during WWII is finally delivered to family 76 yrs later

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Angelina’s husband passed away several years ago, so getting the old letter was like receiving a treasure.

Have you ever wanted to get back in contact with someone you cannot anymore? Perhaps someone who passed away and is no longer here, but you go through old voicemails or letters so you can feel a little bit closer to them again. If that’s the case for you, you’ll know exactly how it felt for Angelina Gonsalves to finally receive a letter that her husband John had written in 1945.

He wrote it while stationed overseas fighting in World War II, but although he made it home and went on to have a long and happy life with his family, the letter never showed up. That is, until a few months ago when some USPS employees rediscovered the letter and did everything they could to track down its rightful owners.

It was initially meant to go to his mother.

Written during World War II, this letter was intended to be a letter home to the soldier’s mother. Dating back to December 6, 1945, the letter depicts what life was like for him as he fought overseas. In a touching turn, John wrote that he believed that he would get to go home soon. He was right, as World War II had technically ended months prior and operations were coming to a close.

The delayed letter ended up arriving in time for his widowed wife to read it.

Showing up 76 years after Sgt. John Gonsalves wrote it, his letter couldn’t quite make it to the intended audience. His mother had died already, and in fact, so had the writer. He passed away at age 92 in 2015.

The letter describes life as an active-duty soldier during World War II.

Sgt. John Gonsalves was stationed in Bad Orb, Germany at the time. In his letter he was completely honest with his mother about his thoughts and experience, saying that he thought that the food was bad and the weather was equally disappointing.

Of course, he also included a note about how much he loved his family and his hopes that he could go home soon.

Why did it take the letter that long to show up and how did it ever find Angelina?

While it’s uncertain how the letter originally got so misplaced for so long, in late 2021 some USPS employees found the letter at a processing center. Recognizing how important this letter might be to the family, they dedicated their time to finding a contact and address to send the letter to.

When they got Angelina’s address, they sent the letter, with a note, saying:

“We are aware of the passing of your husband in 2015 (our condolences)…By virtue of some dedicated sleuth work by postal employees at this facility, we were able to determine your address, hence this letter delivery to you, albeit 76 years delayed. Due to the age and significance to your family history, delivering this letter was of utmost importance to us.”

Although the letter was written before Sgt. Gonsalves met his wife, Angelina is now able to cherish this piece of her husband’s past.

Angelina and Sgt. Gonsalves met after he returned from the war. They got married in 1953 and went on to have a 61 year marriage and 5 children together. Even though she didn’t know him at this time, she can still look back and read her husband’s writing, and hear his thoughts.

One of her son’s says he knows just how much this means to her. Brian Gonsalves tells CNN:

“It was a joy to see her face light up reading his words…To be able to see her read something he wrote and look back at that history, it’s something she’ll always have now.”

It’s a special gift to be able to read a lost loved one’s words all over again.

Angelina knows that very well now. She describes what this means to her by telling CBS Boston:

“I love it, I love it. When I think that it’s all his words, I can’t believe it. It’s wonderful. And I feel like I have him here with me.”

Watch the video below to learn more!


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