This year, more than 12,000 people set aside time to write personal letters to Medal of Honor recipients. They wrote from their kitchen tables and desks, their homes and offices. Some were in class, from elementary to high school; at least one wrote from prison.

They typed, they drew, and they wrote in pen, pencil, and marker, then sealed the letters and sent them to Janine Stange, who for the third year in a row collected, sorted, and delivered them to 72 recipients of the nation's highest award for valor.

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Colored lithograph by M. Dubourg (circa 1813)

John Hollyday served in the War of 1812, where the British invaded the fledgling United States and almost reconquered the territory they had lost only three decades before.

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AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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