Northern Michigan In Focus: Vietnam Letters

Last month the Daughters of the American Revolution reached out to Miss Gray’s 7th and 8th grade class at Cherryland Middle School in Elk Rapids and asked them to write poems for a Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran event they are holding in August.

The students came up with some incredible and reflective poems.

Owen Kinery, an 8th grader, says reflecting on veterans’ sacrifices is a healthy activity.

“It’s good to look back and see what they did for our country,” he said.

"Scars" by Owen Kinery, 8th grade

Shipped off like a package

Lives forever in damage

Fought to insure world liberty

Came home treated with liberty

Battle worn, battle scared

Kept war away from the backyard

Fought for their nation with great pride

Weren’t sure if they would come home alive

There was always struggle, but they never gave in

Wounds go deeper than just their skin

Fought in uniforms made of cotton

The ones who were lost will never be forgotten

Thank you for your service

When Julia Markey wrote her poem, “Veterans,” the poem was only way she could express her thoughts.

“This poem meant a lot to me when I was writing it,” says the 7th grader. “I can’t put it into words how much it meant to me.”

"Veterans" by Julia Markey, 7th grade

They fight for us.

They go through unimaginable things for us.

They suffer though physical and mental trauma for our freedom.

They come back, knowing the job is done.

The demons of the job come back to haunt them.

A bell that dings, reminding of what had to be done.

Whether overseas, in the air, or on the ground.

They give their all, whether that be figuratively, literally, or mentally.

Some come back with missing limbs.

Some come back with missing fragments of their conscious.

Some come back with it all there, but the pain still stabs.

The ache of old wounds

Returning at any moment.

The shadow of memory

Coming to strike when you least expect it.

War is pain.

They go through it all so we breathe freely.

Amelia Beatty, a 7th Grader, says acknowledging the weight of the veterans’ sacrifice is important.

“Once we realize the sacrifice the solders have made, and their families, just for America and other countries, it just connects you more and makes it more personal,” she said.

"Thank You" by Amelia Beatty, 7th Grade

Thank you, for all you’ve done.

Standing to fight for our nation,

Because you are the heroes that stand in the background.

We hail the police, the president, the politicians

For their clever thinking and battle strategies.

But the modest yet brave heroes are at play too,

Volunteering your lives to fight for what’s best for our country,

Even though the job is saddled with grief.

You push through and survive, despite the fall of friends and possibly family,

A constant reminder of relatives and companions back home.

It takes courage, a kind of bravery that only certain people can muster.

We honor, do our best to understand what the tragedy of war is like,

but we’ve never experienced it firsthand,

Like you have.

I would have no idea how much persistence and raw strength it takes,

but I can still admire the determination to fight

To fight for the past paths our forefathers and mothers have stakes

To fight for today and the current generations,

And to fight so the unborn have a "tomorrow" to look to.

So on the behalf of America.

Thank you for your service!

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