Video: Kids' letters welcomed by soldiers

By Don Teague Correspondent
NBC News
updated 10/5/2006 7:31:10 PM ET 2006-10-05T23:31:10

It's sorting day in Pontotoc, Miss. — the day volunteers make care packages for soldiers overseas.

Impersonal things, mostly, like mouthwash or pencils. But before the packages are sealed, there's a special delivery added: Letters written by school children.

"Dear Soldier...I want to say thank you."

"Watch out for ants..."

"My uncle time was in the Marines, and he turned out just fine"

"How is it out there? It must be hard fighting?"

Barbara Baldwin organized the letter writing campaign while her son was serving in Afghanistan.

"They're just uplifting, they're supportive they just love the soldiers and tell them so," Baldwin says.

So far, more than 1,000 service members in Iraq and Afghanistan have received letters from children like these.

"Dear Soldier, I am proud of all of y'all."

"I wrote to cheer you up...you are going to be a great soldier."

"Dear Soldier, I hope you get to come home soon."

Pontotoc, Miss., is a patriotic town. It's the type of place where you expect strong support for the military, but many of the sentiments expressed in these letters are universal. They're written by kids from all across the country.

Some of the best have been published in a new book. But, do soldiers really read them?

Sgt. Perry Holmes did — over and over during his year in Iraq.

"I remember this letter right here, with the flag on it," says Sgt. Holmes.

"When we got time in the evening, we'd read these letters right here — you know, to help us go to sleep at night."

Today, he and his fellow soldiers are meeting some of the kids who wrote those letters.

He remembers what Pearson Birchfield wrote:

"If you do die with my letter so it will let me know the world that I care for each and every one of you out there in the war. Thank you.” Holmes reads.

Soldiers and kids, proving that words really can make a difference. 

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