Editorial:Kids' cards to military folk cheerfully ring in 2012

December 28, 2011

Author Hal Borland wrote, "year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us."

As we close out one year and look ahead to a new one, that point is carried forth by elementary students in a passel of New Year's cards that are sure to spread new year's cheer...

"USA Rocks - Happy New Year 2012" writes one youngster.

"Peace - Happy 2012" says another.

Kids in Washougal wrote the messages and drew the pictures, including tanks, eagles, airplanes, stars, flowers and fireworks - even a martini glass with the message "Cheers."

Gorge Heroes Club, which regularly sends care packages to men and women in the armed forces, has mailed the cards to American servicemen and women overseas. They shared them with us before sending them off.

One note includes a pencil, and the message, "write a note to you're family with pencil included."

One child drew the earth and a colorful "2011 - 2012" and wrote, "When a old year passes away, a new one returns."

Think of that as you head toward the new year.

Nothing can top the optimism of youth.

Here are other sample messages, youthful spelling and syntax intact, from the more than 200 cards:


"Thank you for serving us. We hope you guys are proud of yourself because we are proud of you because you guys are making the country good."

"I sulute all who gives our country this freedom."

"Hey, Friend"

"Strong as a tiger, big as a bear, whenever you need them, veterans are there," said one card, with picture of roaring Kodiak bear.

"I pledge ulegents. Thank you for your ownership."

"To: US Military

From: Tristan

Hapy new year"

"There is no place like home"

"Thank you so much for joining the war and army"

"Celebrate life"

"Important" was the lone word on one card; on either side were the Statue of Liberty and an eagle.

"Hang in there!" - attached to a bead ornament

"Let freedom ring"

"We really appreciate you. Thank you."

"To the ones who protected our nation all these years to the major wars 1920-2011 and much longer ago."

"USA," with a drawing of a shining sun

"Stay safe to Army"

Stay safe. Happy new year" (with fireworks)

"Happy new Year" read a card with a watercolor drawing

Other cards bore flags formed from hand-cut strips of red, white and blue paper, stickers and decals.

Another card was simply a picture of a birthday cake. That young artist probably tried to think of an image that was sure to raise a smile no matter what date the soldier was born upon.

Whether simple line drawings or adorned with glitter or ribbon, these messages to the men and women who serve from earnest newly literate citizens are a testament to the wisdom that experience, at any age, can instill in us.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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