Tower School’s 5th Grade Students Welcome Soldiers

January 31, 2013

Global Citizenship, Uncategorized

imageTower School’s fifth grade teachers connected with and arranged for their students to visit Pease International Airport to welcome United States Service men and women who were returning from Afghanistan.

Our students were eager to meet the troops and thank them for their work on our country’s behalf. They made signs and cards, and traveled with great anticipation. What they discovered was, that by caring for others, they, themselves, grew fuller and richer. As Haley Andreasen expressed in her essay about the experience, “What we expected were smiles and high fives, but the soldiers gave us more than that. They gave us a feeling that we helped, and the thought that we made a difference.”

Back in their classrooms, the students wrote essays, capturing the essence of their experience as Pease Greeters. Three essays are included here as examples of different perspectives on the experience. See below for the full text of Haley Andreasen’s essay, and those of two of her classmates.

Silence hung in the air like a heavy fog. It drifted from person to person. Only a few murmurs could be heard. Finally a single voice cut thought the silence like a knife: “Heads up!” Everyone turned as the clouded glass doors at the end of the hallway slid open. A roar rose from the crowd, and people jumped to their feet. A wave of red, white and blue rose up from the crowd as every one thrust forward their signs. My heart began to beat faster, and my palms began to sweat. The blue marker from the sign bled onto my hands. This is the moment we had been waiting for. What we expected was smiles and high fives, but the soldiers gave us more than that. They gave us a feeling that we helped, and the thought that we made a difference.
-Haley Andreasen

The impact of the 40 or 50 people that had come was much higher than I expected. The soldiers’ smiles were probably the most soul filling thing I have and will ever see in my life. When they went down the hallway called the Heroes’ Walk, everything that I could see was joyous and bright. The corridor was like a rainbow bridge to a place of amazement and happiness. The Heroes’ Walk was definitely my favorite part of the field trip.
-Edward Greene

As I wait in the hallway for my heroes to come out the door, my heart is pounding with excitement for them to come home and see their families and loved ones. The heroes’ hearts are probably pounding out of their chests. Even though their families aren’t there at the airport, the idea of them going to visit and have fun in Disney, or where ever they are going, brings a smile that over powers my face. As the bravest people I have ever seen come out of the doors, where their feet are touching America for the first time in months or years, my mouth pours out screams, thank yous, and welcome homes. As the cheers go on for every solider who comes out, we make sure not one person doesn’t get a scream or a yell, even the flight attendants. These soldiers put their lives on the line to make our land free, and they are the reason why it is. The sign that I’m holding in my hands is an American flag with “You Make This Land Free” in red, white, and blue. On the stripes it says “American” with the four last letters highlighted: I CAN.

It also said thank you, welcome home, and you’re my hero. After all of the brave men and woman came out, they went to the refreshment area and stuffed animal table. I got up and said thank you to as many soldiers as I could, and I gave one of them my sign. We talked about how Navy beat Army in the football game and how my dad was in the Naval Intelligences, but mostly about how much we love football. He told me his stories about how some of his partners got mad about him wearing “Beat Army” on his uniform. As the day went on, I saw the stuffed animal I brought in, and I knew a wonderful woman was going to give it to her own child, and it will make the kid feel happy and unforgotten, and that made my heart glow. Finally, as everyone said thank you for coming, I said thank you for serving.
-Caroline Craig

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2 Comments on “Tower School’s 5th Grade Students Welcome Soldiers”

  1. Paul "Doc" Dachsteiner Says:

    Wow is all I can say. I am “Doc” one of the food table workers. I can’t say enough good things about your school and it’s students. You really shined that morning. From the courteous way you conducted yourselves, to the way you greeted the soldiers. You are right when you say that the soldiers faces lit up upon seeing you children. That is what they love most, Second would be the dogs. We all thank each and every one of you and invite you back at any time you choose. You are not only a credit to your school and it’s teachers, but, to your parents as well. I’m sure you caused a few happy tears in these soldiers eyes. They are all our heroes and deserve all the thanks we can give them. I am so proud of you all. Thank you so much.



    • Susie Twadell Says:

      Thank you for your kind comments, Doc! We’re so glad you found our blog! The students are still talking about their experiences at Pease with the troops. They were inspired and enriched by their experiences there, and we feel certain that many of them will return with their families. Greeting and thanking the troops empowered the children, and they rose to the occasion with grace and dignity. We are indeed proud to be associated with them! We look forward to seeing you back at Pease again.
      Susie Twadell, Tower School Fifth Grade Teacher


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