To The Reader's Forum:
I teach fourth grade at Lincoln Elementary School. Several years ago, a fellow employee of JPS had a sister who called me on January 14th, a Friday.
She asked me if I would mind making get well cards for her brother, a Vietnam Veteran, who was struggling with cancer. She knew the cards would cheer him up. So that day my class began writing and creating beautiful get well cards filled with heartfelt words. My class embraced the opportunity to thank a Veteran. To say thank you for all the things they appreciated in their lives that were, in their hearts, directly related to his personal service to our country. I placed the cards in an envelope and she picked them up that day.
The weekend came and went and on Monday morning there was already a card in my mailbox. Excitedly I opened it in front of my class, as I always do when we get mail. I opened the card and began to read aloud"I would like to thank you very much for the letters and cards you wrotehe received them on Saturday, January 15th. He enjoyed reading them very much. (He) lost his battle with cancer on Sunday the 16th of January. Please know that the beautiful cards and letters brightened his final hours a great deal."
I wept openly and honestly with my class that day. Yesterday, while discussing a story we are reading about Vietnam, I thought about the connection I could make with the story of that experience. I looked over at my bulletin board, and I saw the card I had received from the woman who called, and a newspaper editorial another family member had written at the time, as they always hang on the bulletin board by my desk.
I carefully began to read and realized the date I was reading on was the very date the card I received said this man had passed on. Call it coincidence?? I call it a great opportunity to reflect and say thank you again to this man and all the other Veterans who make this country a great place to live in. I also needed to remind my class, and most importantly myself, that words can change things and taking the time out for someone else feels really good.