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Letters to a soldier: Opstad class pens thanks for overseas service
As students at North Bend's Opstad Elementary, Sydney Check and Dawson Schneider are a bit young to understand the life of a soldier.
But Sydney, Dawson and others in Sharon Piper's third grade class do understand the desire for safety, warmth, family.
In class exercises this past month, the students added personal messages to care packages to be sent to soldiers overseas. In the letters, young writers shared their thoughts on what it means to serve your country.
Piper's students write letters to their parents every week. As practice for writing friendly letters, she asked them to write to soldiers.
"We were talking about Afghanistan and what it's like, how they would feel if they weren't around their families," she said. "How would they feel if they got a letter from someone they didn't know, thanking them for what they're doing."
The children liked their assignment, "and were very appreciative, at 8 years old, that someone was protecting them."
Young letter writer Sydney doesn't know any soldiers personally. But she knows them when she sees them, recently spotting some camouflage-clad fellow diners at McDonald's.
"I was going to encourage them, and make them feel warm and ready," she said. "I was telling them, they give hope to people."
"I want to think that all the soldiers are safe," said Dawson. If he were a soldier, he'd like to get such a letter from a young person.
With Veteran's Day approaching this Friday, Nov. 11, Piper may ask her class to write more letters, or simply talk about what the day means.
The following are a sample of some of her class's letters to soldiers:
Thank you for fighting for us. I know you can do it! A sacrifice isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s something to be proud of. I am Sydney Check. I’m in 3rd grade. I’m writing to you from North Bend. What is it like where you are? I don’t like wars. It only causes destruction. Thank you for doing this. What you are doing is giving people hope. You are protecting the ones you love. Don’t be nervous because you can do it! Love is the ultimate power. What food do you eat? I hope it’s good because you need it! I want to tell you this, I’m very proud of you guys. Be kind and caring and don’t give up hope! Now, good luck and be safe.
Hi, my name is Caroline. Thank you for fighting for us. Our school is sending you cards and blankets and other things you might need. What is it like where you are? I have a hilarious dog that runs in circles! Where are you from? My whole class is writing to you and your friends in Afganistan. I am writing to you from North Bend, Washington at Opstad Elementary in Mrs. Piper’s class in Room 13. What do you eat? Where do you sleep? What is your name? I always think about what you do and how you help us. What do you do if someone gets sick? Do you celebrate birthdays? Again, thank you so much! What do you do for light? I have 3 brothers and 2 dads. Are any of your brothers or sisters in the army? Is it smoky or cold where you are? Do you have maps? I always read and learn more about you. If I could, I would come visit you. What is your favorite color? My favorite color is blue.
Do you receive many letters?
Do you drive a striker? My name is Kyle. What do you do? Do you do Search and Rescue? Sorry if you lost one of your friends. Do you like your food? Do you like Legos? How old are you? Is Afghanistan humid or not? Thank you for our safety. Try to stay safe.
I hope you don’t get hurt. Be safe. My favorite thing to do is play football. What is your favorite thing to do? What is your favorite t.v. show? I bet when you come back your family is going to say, “yeah!” Thank you for helping United States of America stay safe.
We are from North Bend Washington. Good luck and be safe. What is your favorite color? Are you okay in Afghanistan? What is it like where you are? We are from Opstad Elementary. What food do you eat? Thank you for saving the world from the bad guys. I am eight years old. How old are you? Do you have a pet? I really appreciate you saving us. Do you have books? Do you have a library? What I like to do is to ride my skateboard, scooter and bike. Do you have anything you like to ride> Good luck on your trip of fighting in the military.
Opstad Elementary's school website is http://www.opstadelementary.org/