Teaching Gratitude for Veterans

Think back to grade school and fall parties. You know, the ones they used to call “Halloween” parties where the kids dressed up and paraded their costumes around, played “pin-the-hat-on-the-witch” and ate candy most of the day?

Even though much of the “Halloween” tradition is no longer in public school systems, a new tradition started at ours. It’s one that I hope they keep.

This year, after playing bingo and eating snacks, students at my son’s elementary school wrote “Thank You” letters to veterans at our local VA hospital. Next week, a representative from the hospital will come to the school for a special assembly, some of the kids will read their letters out loud and the student council will present the VA with a stack of 246 thank you messages.

The idea came from a mom who’d heard about the Million Thanks movement and wanted to do something for local veterans. The kids loved it. Some of them wrote three or four letters; others fretted over writing just the right words to express what was in their little hearts.

One of my favorite letters went like this:

Dear American Hero,

Thank you so much for your sacrifice for our country. Because of what you did, we can be free. When I grow up, I want to be a hero like you and do good things for others.

Thank you from one of your citizens,

*A 3rd grade student*


Here’s to inspiring a new generation with the ideas of service, character, and integrity, and to living lives worthy of the sacrifices made on our behalf.

1 Comment

  • Former Cadet Lance Corperal Ripps M.C.J.R.O.T.C. Ben davis Eagle Battlion
    Posted February 22, 2014 3:53 pm 0Likes

    Dear Leather Necks, Squids, Doggies, And Fly Boys
    I will have to be the first to admit, I don’t understand what the whole war is all about. I just know that you are there and not here with your families and living your every day lives. I think that is really rotten and I wish it didn’t have to be that way.

    I’m writing this letter because I want to thank you for your sacrifice, fighting for your country and for me. I know you don’t know me but that’s how it feels, you are fighting for me, because I can’t be there with or instead of you. I do actually understand some of the sacrifice that you are making for all of us here in the U.S. My own father was gone for a year or more at a time when I was growing up during the Vietnam (err, police action) Wars. I didn’t see much of him until he retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years in service. We lived in Navy housing most of the time while he was deployed and my mother, brother and I were so happy when dad came home to be with us for whatever time he had. In some ways, it even helped us to appreciate each other more.

    I can’t deny that sometimes that was hard, growing up without a dad for such long periods of time but I think I turned out okay. Plus I was very fortunate that my dad did come home. My heart breaks for those fallen soldiers who will never be able to come home to their grieving families.

    Now that I am an adult and I can understand a little better what was going on, I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of my father and the service he gave for our country. Maybe its cliche but I really am VERY proud to be an American!

    I am sorry that you are so far from home right now, what with it having just been the holidays and a Easter just around the corner but really, I am sorry that you have to be so far away from home at all, no matter what time of year it is.

    That’s really all I can think of to say except I hope you all come home safe and sound and that this war will end soon. May you be blessed for your service to our country

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