This letter was given to Jordan by his father on his last visit prior to his son's deployment. Jordan was told not to open the letter until he was in country. Upon his death, the letter was found well worn, tucked between his bedframe and his mattress.

3/13/2008

Dear Jordan,

If you are reading this you are more than likely in Iraq. I just wanted to share a few things with you that Iʼm sure are not news to you but I think I should say them nevertheless. First of all, let me say how proud I am of you for making the sacrifices that you have made in order to pursue the career that has brought you here. There really arenʼt to many people that would make the commitments that you have made at such a young age. You have really turned into the man that I always dreamed you would be when you were a child. You are the type of person that every father wishes and hopes their child will grow into.

You are entering a new phase in your life right now Jordan. The things that you do, the things that you experience, the people you meet, the sights, the sounds, the smells, etc...are all going to be new and not all of them are going to be good. All of these things, however, are going to affect everything that takes place in your life in the future. You are a strong person and you have to always remember that your deeds and actions and the way that you treat others affect their lives in the same way that theirs affect yours. For this reason, I want you to remember that compassion, humanity, and decency are not weaknesses in human character but are strengths. Approach every daily situation that you face keeping this in mind. When you go to work I want you to be razor sharp and always on your game. Never let your guard down, stay alert, and be suspicious of everyone and everything but also balance this with common sense, intelligence, and dignity. As far as Iʼm concerned, you are in a country where everyone is guilty until proven innocent, be that right or wrong. Iʼm sorry if Iʼm rambling but I want you to be safe over all else. I want you to look at those pictures that I gave you and realize that those are the real people you are fighting for. Those are the people that will carry you from day to day. Those are the people that I want you to put next to your heart and take with you when you leave the wire and those are the people I want you to come home safely to.....

In 7 months your tour will be over and we will once again be together. Take it day by day and know that everyone here is putting the Xʼs on their calenders the same way we did when you were in boot camp. There are an awful lot of people here that love you Jordan and you have to know that we are thinking about you every single minute of every single day. When things are tough you can be sure that I am with you in spirit and walking beside you every step of the way. Do what you have to do to get back home to us. Please keep this letter with you and reread it from time to time and it may become clearer as time passes.....

I love you Jordan. Be safe.

Dad

This letter was given to Jordan by his mother prior to his deployment.   It was found among his possessions in Iraq. 

3.09.08 Letter One

Dear Jordan,

Hello from Sag Harbor!

You are always on my mind.
I can’t imagine the thoughts that are going through your head. I am starting to write this letter while you are still home, safe at Camp Lejeune and wondering just how you are preparing mentally for this life changing event. Physically, I know you are prepared...I just don’t know how the Marines can attempt to know how to prepare individual heads...Its up to you to keep things in perspective, stay alert. One of my friends asked me to tell you to keep your head on a swivel. You will always be in my thoughts. Do your job and come home. That’s all.

Ronn Pirelli has your new address and he said you should watch for a package coming from the Sag Harbor VFW for you. He says the Post, he and his wife, Janet have you in their thoughts and prayers. I think I told you I was invited to go to the Post on March 19th. A gathering of moms of service men and women. Ronn says they are 7 moms in Sag Harbor.

My bosses, Marie and Bryan and co-workers Terry and Bob and others constantly ask of you and wish you safe travel and safe home. There are so many people who think of you daily in their thoughts. I hope you somehow can feel it. Don’t ever think you are alone.

Now it sinks in...You called and said you know your flight is on the 22nd. I’m counting down the days. As I’m sure you are. I am so proud of you Jordan. I am scared of the unknown for sure, but know you are well trained and confident in your endeavors.

I’m hoping you find you do have internet service somewhere...and are able to find phone service somewhere easily. I’m hoping you are always full and not wanting for anything..Not sure you’ll find your beloved spaetzle anywhere...but I’m trying to locate anything noodle-ish that I can find to send off to you in a package. Let me know when you are able, if you can actually heat things up somewhere. If you have pots and pans??

03.19.08
Today marks the 5th year Anniversary of the war in Iraq. A day of reflection for many. It is also begins a day I have been dreading…the day I begin my journey to see my son off to Iraq. This day was never discussed in any parenting manuals I have read…I am at a lost of how to handle it.
I imagine that you are reading this in Iraq and now I will apologize for those tears that I just can’t control. You know I love you and I’m just a softy.
I want to be strong for you. My love for you is unconditional. It will always be.

It’s a dreary, rainy day. Oma has invited me to lunch before I head out. She has a letter for you and maybe a loaf of bread you love :)
I’m going to send this out with the hopes that a letter will be waiting for you when you arrive, to lift your spirits. Make you smile, think of Sag Harbor... I will try to number each letter, so you’ll know if one is missing. If we find motomail works well, I’ll let everyone know about it. It has to be better than standard USPS.
Stay safe Jordan Christian Haerter...stay alert...we all have your back. Anything you need or want, we can do...we’ll find a way.
See you soon! You are in my thoughts and prayers always.......
Love, Mom