Inside: Help spread kindness this summer with this simple summer activity: writing letters to soldiers from kids is the perfect way to show our gratitude and patriotic spirit to our servicemen, women, and veterans.
Last weekend was Memorial Day and my kids and I were excited to have the day off from alarm clocks and school lunches and homework. We had a bbq planned and spent time with family.
But as someone pointed out to me, not all families have that luxury.
Millions of servicemen and women are not with their families and can’t enjoy hamburgers and corn on the cob and fresh cut watermelon.
Families are separated either because of deployment or because a soldier was killed in the line of duty protecting our country, our democracy, and our freedoms.
But since my family’s life is not directly affected by the commitment and sacrifices military families make, it’s easy to forget.
It’s easy to forget what Memorial Day really is.
It’s easy to not pay attention to Veteran’s Day unless you know a veteran.
And as we approach the 4th of July, it’s easy to forget the sacrifice millions of men and women have made so we can watch fireworks and have apple pie eating contests and wave flags at parades.
We can wear red white and blue and hang up our flags and feel patriotic, but until we take a moment and thank those people who make it possible, we’re really not truly able to appreciate why we have the freedoms we have.
And so we teach our kids to write thank you letters to soldiers-both to deployed servicemen and women in the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard and to our veterans who once served proudly.
It’s a simple, yet impactful gesture of gratitude and kindness kids of any age can partake in.
How to Spread Kindness This Summer
We are intentionally raising kind kids. It’s so important to us we made it one of our only two family rules.
And we spread kindness every chance we get.
During the summer, we spread kindness whenever we go to the park and hide these Summer Random Acts of Kindness Cards and inexpensive toys.
Summer is also the perfect time to use our patriotic spirit and spread some kindness to our servicemen and women and veterans.
So to celebrate the 4th of July and what it means to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we encourage our kids to write letters to servicemen and women and to veterans to thank them.
It’s also a simple way to sneak in some writing over summer to help prevent the Summer Slide.
These thank you letters aren’t just for summertime though.
They’re also a perfect activity to do to honor Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, rather than thinking the day off is about sales and BBQs.
Since we don’t have any servicemen or women in our family and all of the veterans we were related to have passed away, we send our letters through Operation Gratitude.
How to Send Letters to Soldiers
1. Download and print these free patriotic thank you card postcards (download below).
2. Cut them out on the dotted line.
3. Follow Operation Gratitude’s tips:
- Start with a generic opening such as “Dear Soldier” or “Dear Veteran”
- Do not include a date
- First names only!
- Avoid political and religious messages
4. Help your kids fill out the letter to a soldier or veteran or servicemen or woman. If your child can’t write yet, they can copy your words, dictate a message that you write down or they can draw a picture.
Kids can write a thank you note or ask a question or tell a little about themselves (no location, no school names)
5. Help your child address the letters if they’re able.
If you’re mailing a bunch of letters, put them all in one giant envelope, rather than individual envelopes and the kids can draw on the backs of these notecards.
Or, you can mail each of these cards as a postcard by addressing the back and putting a stamp on it.
Operation Gratitude asks that you do not put each one in an envelope and you do not include glitter or confetti.
Mail the letters to:
Attn: Letter Writing Program
2100 Lassen St.
Chatsworth, Ca 91311
6. Stick it in the mailbox and mail the letters!