Rancho Mirage, Calif. — For Sue Morse, picking up the mail has become a labor of love. Her dad, Duane Sherman, recently had a big birthday coming up, but as a member of the greatest generation with few shipmates still alive, she knew the mailbox would be empty.
"So I put on my Facebook my dad's turning 96, he's a WWII Purple Heart vet and I would like to get some birthday cards to make him feel special," Morse said.
Did she ever.
"The first day I got 150 letters and I thought that was really cool. The next day they said, 'Could you pull around back?" Morse said.
One hundred thousand birthday cards now fill up the rooms of her house and a friend's home. Since Sherman is now legally blind, his daughter and her "card squad" have vowed to read every one of them.
There were letters from veterans and messages of gratitude.
"It moves me to no end," Sherman said.
One birthday message stood out. It was from a shipmate on the USS Lamson. The last time they saw each other was in 1944, when their ship was under kamikaze attack.
"The captain said abandon ship. We all ran to the port side and leaped over," Sherman said.
Bob Apple, 96, was that shipmate. When they met recently for the first time in 74 years, he gave Sherman a painting of the USS Lamson in flames.
"I said, 'We should have a nice card with that. Maybe a nice little birthday card,"' Apple said.
Morse estimates it will take the rest of the year just to get through all the messages of love and support.
"He truly is part of America's greatest generation. They saved the world," she said.
Clearly, the world has not forgotten.