Veterans connect with letters from West Madison students
MADISON – For Veterans Day, letters from West Madison Elementary School gifted students surprised residents at Floyd E. ‘Tut’ Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville.
Each letter is “heartfelt,” gifted specialist Wendy Tibbs said. The letters coincided with “A Day of Honor,” West Madison’s tribute to veterans.
Tibbs delivered 45 letters from students in grades 4-6 to Tut Fann. At the entrance, she handed one letter to a Vietnam veteran. “He politely received it (but) probably was thinking it would be cute with misspellings and a simple ‘thank you,'” she said.
Reading the letter, the veteran “teared up,” paused and asked the student’s age. “A fifth-grader,” Tibbs. The veteran said, “Tell him I said thank you.” This veteran has lived there five years after retiring from the U.S. Air Force and an arsenal job. “He has no family here.”
While Tibbs’ students wrote letters, Holly McKnight’s history classes wrote essays about veterans. “Through our collaboration, students used what they were learning in both classrooms and personalized these letters,” Tibbs said.
West Madison student Jayden wrote, “I don’t know who you are, but, in a way, I kind of do. You’re a risk-taker of risk-takers. Your heroic sacrifices make us who we are.”
Kelsey thanked veterans for reliability. “Many people don’t want the responsibility to do what you did, but you stepped up to the plate. I came up with an acronym — ‘YOLOSMAD.’ It stands for ‘You only live once, so make a difference.’ Thank you for your time and effort to make this world a better place.”
Shelly composed a poem:
“Thank you for fighting for us and being very brave.
You fought for us and had a loss of all the holidays.
I know without your help
I couldn’t get through the days.
Thank you for your service
In all your different ways.”
Henry wrote that he would never be able to comprehend the hardships of a veteran. “They must have really missed you back home. I best you missed them as well.”