CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Wearing a wig, Stuart Pang, left, of Hokulani School wrote a letter yesterday to a 100th Battalion soldier in Iraq. Members of the battalion presented students with a flag that flew over their headquarters in Iraq. Thanking the students was Lt. Col. Howard Sugai.
Army thanks children for writing to soldiers
Second- and fifth-graders at Hokulani Elementary School have been busy sending letters and pictures to members of the 100th Battalion who are now in Iraq.
Yesterday, they got a special thanks from Maj. Mike Peeters, executive officer of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry.
Peeters spent the morning visiting the students at the school, near the Manoa campus of the University of Hawaii. He thanked the fifth-graders taught by Sean Maskell and the second-graders taught by Ronda Goo.
Goo said she started the letter-writing idea last month, and suggested it as a service project.
"When I found out that they needed at least 400 letters," Goo said, "I invited teachers in the kindergarten and the first grade to join in."
Goo said she has already sent 150 letters to the soldiers of the 100th Battalion, most of them addressed individually. Their names were provided by Eleanor Low, the wife of 100th Battalion commander Lt. Col. Colbert Low. Their two daughters attend Hokulani.
Peeters told the students "it has been a long, hard deployment, and one of the things we appreciate is the letters we get."
He said the leaders of the 100th Battalion make it a point to ensure that their soldiers answer the letters they receive. Many of the them are posted in the battalion's tactical operations center.
During a brief question-and-answer period, fifth-grader Elishia Chun, 10, asked Peeters if they get healthy meals.
Peeters told her that soldiers are able to eat in mess or chow halls. When Peeters told the fifth-graders that "some nights we get steaks and lobsters," a collective wow went through the classroom.
Chun, who was composing her first letter to the soldiers when Peeters arrived, said she wanted to thank them "for fighting for us and why freedom is important for us."
In her letter, Chun said: "Freedom is important because we can do what ever we want when we want to do ... I'm thankful for your protection because we don't have to worry about getting killed or hurt."