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Kids correspond with U.S. troops - Offer words of thanks, support

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The students at P.S. 222 in Marine Park know that freedom doesn’t come free. To show their gratitude these patriotic school children recently penned letters to U.S. troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The notes were heartwarmingly simple and appreciative. Many letters were carefully decorated with drawings of flags and stick-figure soldiers. “Thank you for giving us freedom by doing war,” wrote nine-year-old Amena. Kindergarten student Sarah said, “Thank you for keeping us safe.” Classmate Ryan’s letter reads, “We think you are brave.” Students heaped on the praise, and some also gave little updates from home. One student ends their letter with, “By the way, the Giants won the Superbowl!” Some writers also included questions like “Is it hard fighting overseas?” They included their own addresses, hoping for a return letter. The P.S. 222 student council came up with the idea, according to student council coordinator Marie Riordan. “They wanted to express their sincere thanks,” Riordan said. “The troops may be out of sight, but they’re not out of mind.” Grades 3, 4, 5 and the kindergarten class participated in the project. As well as letters, students also collected “care package” items like snacks and personal hygiene products. Students filled several boxes with everything from Dove soap to Fig Newtons. “We asked the students to imagine their life in a desert and asked them what they would miss,” said Marie Riordan. The first challenge was assembling all of the letters and donations—600 in total. The next step was figuring out exactly how to get the mail overseas. The school contacted State Senator Marty Golden, who agreed to send the mail to deployed military personnel. Golden recently visited the school at 3301 Quentin Road to collect the packages and thank students. “I’m proud of each and every one of you,” Golden told the assembled student council. Golden told the group that he has one nephew currently serving in Iraq and another that recently returned home. “These letters will bring joy to their hearts,” Golden told the children. “When they’re out in the field at night, they need this love to get them through.”

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