Oklahoma Kids Welcome Veterans Home With Letters, Pictures
TULSA, Oklahoma - Military veterans will fly back to Tulsa after the Oklahoma Warriors Honor Flight.
The veterans — 76 of them — left bright and early Wednesday morning for Washington. D.C.
The Honor Flight takes them on an all-expenses paid trip to see the memorials honoring their service.
Each of those veterans will get a surprise on their flight home.
They'll each receive an envelope full of letters of support from their friends and families, as well as a few young strangers who already understand the significance of their sacrifice.
The veterans will land at Tulsa International Airport, but when they get on their flight they'll have a handwritten surprise from some very thoughtful children.
At Justus Tiawah, a small school in Claremore, a fourth grade class is excited.
After an interactive lesson it's time to get quiet.
"Dear veterans. You mean the world to us. Without you, we wouldn't be able to do the simple things in life," reads one letter written by 9-year-old Duncan Andris.
"Thank you for risking your life for us," reads Zane Harper, also 9.
"Thank you so much, and I hope you are safe," reads Vanessa Devaux, 11.
Most of the students in Mrs. Moesely's class have military in their family, so writing these letters is very personal.
"They are heroes," said Aaleyah Sebring, 9.
Aaleyah and her dad took a picture the day he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
"He's half deaf because he got blown up in a truck. And his leg was hurt, too," she said.
"My papa was a veteran and he died from sickness," Vanessa said.
"Papa was a veteran," Duncan said. "He likes to go fishing with me."
Other students have family members who served, too.
Which might be why there's a desire for them to make the veterans feel something when they read the letters and look at their pictures.
"I want them to feel special. I want them to feel like they're my hero, and that they didn't do this just because," Aaleyah said.
If you want to be a part of another surprise for our Oklahoma vets, you can be at the airport before they land to welcome them back home.
You're asked to show up around 8:15 or 8:30 p.m.