Students write heartwarming letters to Honor Flight veterans

ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - Another group of World War II veterans from Mississippi will be taking a journey of a lifetime Wednesday. They will be flying to Washington D.C. to see their memorial for the very first time. And during the flight home, each veteran will receive a large envelop of letters from some South Mississippi students.

The children's words tug at your heart and their appreciation was sincere and powerful.

Third grader Tiffany Ross wrote: "Thank you for serving our country. You are the best. You keep our country free. Hope you stay with us for a long time. If I could see you, I would give you all the thanks I could."

Third grader Anna Probst wrote: "We appreciate you. You were brave for fighting for our country."

On Tuesday, the third graders at St. Martin East Elementary School wrote letters to men and women they've never even met. They've been assigned names like Clara Webb, Orvis Smith and Yancy Walley.

Letters are also coming from students throughout Jackson County, Pascagoula and several private schools.

"Oh, they put their whole little hearts in it," said Joyce Harmon, Honor Flight School Coordinator. "They're creative; they're grateful; they're thankful. And this means the world to those veterans."

Those Mississippi World War II veterans will be taking an Honor Flight to our nation's capitol Wednesday. After their visit to the memorial, they'll board the flight home, where the veterans will hear those two memorable words: Mail Call.

"Every veteran on this flight has at least 50 letters, and there are 88 veterans going," Harmon told the children.

"Every letter is touching, and we have close to 5,000 of them going out in six tubs," Harmon added. "Those babies write so wonderful and so passionately to these veterans."

Third grader Hudson Hohn wrote: "Thank you for serving our country and saving our country. Be strong and have a great time in Washington, DC, and maybe I will join the Air Force, too. And the strong giving you give to us, we give to you. God bless America."

The children may be too young to understand the horrors of war, but they know it's never too early to start honoring their heroes.

"They sacrificed a lot to give you the things that you have now," their teacher reminded the class Tuesday.

Third grader Anna Groves wrote: "Dear Ms. Clara, thank you for fighting for our country. We appreciate all you did to help our country and live free."

The Honor Flight is free to the veterans. Schools in the Jackson County District have also raised more than $10,000 to help pay for their flight and other expenses related to the trip.

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