RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
At the Kapolei Library yesterday, people created cards and drawings and wrote letters to be sent to service members stationed overseas. Cassidy Rock, 10, left, her sister Keely and their aunt KJ Wolfe worked on their cards. CLICK FOR LARGE
Messages of support
Kapolei Library patrons create cards for troops overseas
MARINNA GUERRA, 7, asked her father to join her so she could make a card for a U.S. soldier.
She drew an American flag and the words "God Bless You" and said she hoped it would make a soldier happy.
"I think they're helping the USA not to get hurt," Marinna said.
At the Kapolei Library yesterday, children, their parents and other residents showed support for troops from Hawaii by making cards or drawings and writing letters to service members deployed overseas.
The event coincided with Armed Forces Day, celebrated on the third Saturday in May to thank troops for their service to the country.
Kapolei librarian Janet Yap said she will send the nearly 125 cards that were made to troops from Hawaii that are overseas.
"They're putting their lives on the line every day and every hour. The least we can do is write," she said.
Several of Yap's relatives served in the military, including a cousin, who now works at Tripler Army Medical Center and was a medical officer in Iraq. They kept in touch online, giving her a sense of what the troops were experiencing.
"We need to do something to let them know we support them," she said.
Barry Christensen, 52, drew a picture of a surfer riding a wave and a large rainbow.
"I wanted to help," the Navy veteran said. "It's going to inspire them, for morale."
Some of the children showed an awareness of what the troops face in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"It's sad. People die," said Jayde Kaaihue, 9, a student at Nanaikapono Elementary School in Nanakuli. She said a soldier had visited her class and told her about the war.
"If you did not fight for our country, then they would be ruling our country," she wrote. "Thank you for fighting."
She added, "It makes them feel all right."
Jintana Krause teared up as she looked over the children's drawings displayed behind glass. Palm trees, flags and rainbows filled the illustrations.
"Choked me. It's great," she said. Krause's son served two tours in the Persian Gulf with the Navy. He is currently in graduate school in Monterey, Calif.
"I just think about the soldiers. They just make me proud," she said.
Krause's husband Kim recalled how important letters were when he was serving in the Navy after the Vietnam War.
"Anything you get from home is cherished. It gives you five or 10 minutes away from what's going on and makes you think of home," he said. "I looked forward to those mail drops."
Shannon Fukumoto, a librarian at Kapolei, included a photo of her 2-year-old son and 3-month-old daughter in a card.
"To know that my children will be able to grow up without the fear of terrorism is an awesome feeling. ... May God protect you and bring you home safely," she wrote.
She made the card after thinking about how much she appreciated the military service. "That was probably my only way to reach out to them," she said.
As for Marinna Guerra, she finally finished her card with a simple message inside -- "I wish you could come back to Hawaii" -- and drew an orange heart on the back.