Students send troops valentines |

Students send troops valentines

Amanda Holt Miller
Rifle correspondent

SILT ” A group of soldiers in Baghdad will be happy to get boxes and boxes of valentines this February. More than 400 students and staff at Roy Moore Elementary School wrote letters, valentine cards and posters for a group of Army soldiers.

Jami Zimmerman is a third-grade teacher at Roy Moore. Her daughter, Jessica Washington, had a baby just weeks before her husband, Dwayne, deployed on a one-year tour in Iraq. Jessica is in regular contact with her husband and will send the valentines and letters from Roy Moore to him for his sergeant to distribute, Zimmerman said.

The kindergarten classes wrote a letter together, voting on what to say as the teachers wrote it down. One of the first-grade classes made a poster with all of the students’ photos, thanking them for their work abroad.

“I wrote that I was glad for them to be serving the country,” said Yesica Najera, an 8-year-old in Zimmerman’s class. “I wondered what they did because they’re far away. I wondered where they lived while they’re in war.”

Brandon Salazar, a 9-year-old in Zimmerman’s class, asked the soldier he wrote what his favorite sports are and what the weather is like in Iraq.

“I didn’t really know if it was winter or summer over there,” Salazar said.

Salazar said he wonders what life is like for the soldiers when he watches the news.

“It’s kind of dangerous there,” Salazar said. “They need to be safe.”

Chandler Smith, 9, said he wondered about the way the soldiers live.

Judith Ruiz wrote to a soldier, asking: “Are you a boy or a girl? Are you a mother or father or are you old enough? What is it like over there where you are?”

A lot of the questions in the letters came from a template Zimmerman posted in front of the class for her students.

“But a lot of them asked really great questions of their own,” Zimmerman said.

Some of the classes made heart-shaped valentines and wrote letters to the soldiers on the back.

Ben Dunn, a fourth-grader, wrote “Dear Hero, I appreciate all that you have done. If it were not for all of your bravery and love for your country, we wouldn’t be here right now. You and the other guys out there are greater than any superhero or any superman because you are saving countless lives. …”

“They’re all positive,” Zimmerman said. “There’s nothing negative, no blood and guts. They see enough of that.”