This year I 'adopted' a soldier who is in the field in Iraq and who had applied to a program that connects troops with people who will write to them. This soldier is a lance corporal in the Marine Corps and is stationed in the Iraqi desert. He is due to come home in January or February.
Today, I gave all my classes ten minutes to compose a letter to our Marine, if they wanted to. It was strictly optional, as I wanted the letters to come from the heart. Sadly, only 30 of my 150 kids actually took the time to write a letter, but the letters they wrote are excellent. I teach high school freshmen, fourteen and fifteen year olds very much involved in themselves, and not always the most empathetic people. Some of the best letters come from some of the quietest, the less studious, the less gifted academically, the poorest. I had to share some excerpts with readers.
"How did you feel when they told you you had to go fight in the war and you told your mom and your dad that you have to go and did they feel sad? I was wondering how hot it gets up there and if there is a lot of people getting shot and hurt and if there is women that are fighting."
"I am very thankful for brave people like you that fight for my freedom and every other citizen's. Thank you very much and I will never forget about all the soldiers fighting in Iraq for us."
"I know I can't fathom the sacrifices you have made for me and our country, but it's worth the thanks. I wish you the best of luck as you work in the field and that you come home soon. You guys are the real heroes."
"Writing U to tell U that I appriciate what U R doing for our country and the people you love. Keep doin what U do."
"Believe and fight for what is right,
hold your head up high,
smile proud and care for those,
don't let your hopes fall from the sky."
"I just want you to know I really admire what you are doing for our country. I could never be brave enough to do anything like that! Please be careful!"
"I'm sure there are days you don't want to do what you're doing, but you do it anyways, so thanks. "
"Thanks for fighting in the Iraq war. I know it's not fair that you had to go more than one times and so does the president for once. We all might not like Bush cause I don't, but he might bring back the draft so he can bring some of you home...So thanks for fighting for us."
"Thank you for fighting for our country. Kick their AS!E?"
"Thank for keeping us safe from terisees and I want to go to the marines to serve our country."
"I think that it is really cool that you are brave enough to go all the way across the world and fight for us. I don't think I would last one day if I went over there. I would like to thank you and all the other troops for protecting our country, and at the same time trying to help the people of Iraq have better lives and more freedom."
"You are proof that there is more good than bad in the world, and I thank you for your courage."
"Is being in Iraq scarey? I really appreciate you being down there. I'm sure you get that a lot but I really do. You must be very brave because I would be too chicken. You're like a super hero. Well, thank you!"