By Angela Peacock
Mission Merry Christmas in the Middle East is currently underway.
In a few short days troops overseas will receive a personal card containing a letter of blessing and thanks courtesy of Patti Bell’s seventh grade language arts students at Tucumcari Middle School.
“I’ve thought about going into the military after high school because I think it would be nice to fight for my country,” said 12-year-old Jessica Rey. “I like this writing assignment because we get to really send something to somebody who might not get anything for Christmas, and it might make them feel really good.”
Bell’s son Mark was deployed to Iraq shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He told his mother how homesick he got being so far from home especially during the holiday season. That personal experience left Bell thinking that sending Christmas cards to the troops would not only be a chance for her students to work on their writing skills, but also an opportunity the children to do something nice for the men and women who serve America.
“I can remember Mark telling me how mail day was the ultimate highlight for everyone stationed so far from home,” Bell said. “More than anything I want the students to know how lucky they are to be here in America, and how just sending a card can mean so much when your lonely.”
Matthew Padilla’s grandfather and uncle both served time in the military. Hoping to someday follow in their footsteps as a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force, Padilla wrote his letter to inquire about what is really involved in fighting for America.
Besides wanting to wish the troops a Merry Christmas, Jacob Ramirez, 13, wrote his letter to address a few important questions about how the holiday season really works in the Middle East.
“I wanted to know how they’re going to buy Christmas presents if there isn’t a mall and if they don’t buy them, then how are they going to make their presents,” Ramirez said.
Though Carmen Alarcon, 12, hasn’t thought about joining the military, she does believe the people who do serve this nation deserve special recognition.
“I think it’s cool that we’re writing these letters because while we are getting to spend time with our families for Christmas, they are over there having to shoot people. That’s really messed up,” Alarcon said. “This assignment makes you fill good because you’re doing this for a United States soldier you’ve never met before.”