BARTON – Four war veterans walked into St. Paul’s School to thank teacher Jennifer Wilson and her fifth and sixth grade class for writing them cards in honor of Veterans Day.
Wilson started the project the Tuesday before Veterans Day. She obtained the names of local veterans from her father, John Wilson, a Vietnam veteran.
Wilson wanted each student to write one card, but the class got so enthused, the students ended up mailing 25 cards. Each veteran received at least two cards and some received three and four. Some of the veterans wrote back to the students.
The students did the project to honor the veterans, to thank them for their service and thank them for keeping the country safe. Wilson tied the project into a social studies unit. As part of the unit, the students studied the poppy flower and the origin of Armistice Day.
The veterans visiting her class made Wilson feel good and the students were pleased they had made the veterans feel good.
“I thought it was nice and fun,” said Addie Poginy. Everyone likes to get mail, she said. “I figured who better to write to on a special occasion.”
It’s important to write to the ones who fought for their country and lost some of their best friends in the process," added Hunter Matte. The letters helped the veterans know that people appreciate their efforts, he said.
"I thought it was the kind thing to do,” said Michaela Poginy of writing the cards. “It made me feel good.”
The veterans did a lot for the country, added Brandon Allam.
“You have no idea how much you touched some of these veterans,” John Wilson told the students. “Some of them are carrying their cards with them and showing them to people in the restaurants. A couple of you brought tears to their eyes.”
Honoring veterans is very important. If it were not for the veterans, Americans would not have the freedoms they have, Wilson said.
World War II Veteran Joe Queenin is very pleased the students remembered the veterans and wrote to them.
Frank Ormsbee, who served in Korea and Vietnam, briefly talked about the presidential and vice-presidential planes that he worked on during the John F. Kennedy era. He also thanked the students for their efforts.
Vietnam Veteran Roland Prairie told the students about how he enlisted in the service. Back then, a graduate who wasn’t heading off to college or had a critical job had to enlist in the military. He served 25 months and 11 days in Vietnam and eight months in Germany. Prairie called receiving the letters a treat.
“Thank you for thinking of us,” said Prairie. “It was very heart warming.”
The veterans handed out American flags, McDonald’s gift certificates and homemade cupcakes to each student.