About 150 students at "Bel Aire Elementary" are military children. They have a parent who has been deployed either in the war against Iraq or in support of Homeland Security. With mom or dad half a world away, the children are left with questions even adults find hard to answer.
One child asked "What are you doing there"?
Another student wondered "Are you scared? Have you seen any of your enemies yet"?
To help the children cope, the school formed a support group. Lead Teacher Judy Boyd said "Some of the children are angry. Some of them are sad, depressed, dealing with certain issues. We want to let them know they have people here that they can trust. We're here for them, so they can express their feelings".
One way to express their feelings is through letters to their loved ones overseas. One student wrote "If my dad goes to war and he dies, I will surely cry. If he dies, he will be in heaven I know. If it was my decision, I would go in his place. I feel mad when I think about it".
Eleven year old Frederica Moseley's dad is a Seabee who's been gone since October. In her letter, she said "Dear dad, I'm very upset that you had to leave. At first, when you didn't call, I thought you were dead. But now that I know you're alive. I feel happiness and relief and I just want you to know that I love you".
Judy Boyd said "It's emotional. I don't know if I can handle all this, seeing these little children and stuff talking about death and a parent not coming home. That's got to be hard for them".
Such troubling issues for young minds to deal with. At least they have a support group to lean on. Sixth Grader Trevon Halsey said "It's good to know that there are other kids going through the same thing". Frederica Moseley said "Now I know there are kids my age who go to this very school, who can help me deal with this thing as they deal with it".
The support group meets every Wednesday morning. Besides writing letters, the children also listen to speakers, go on field trips, and collect supplies to send to our troops in the desert.