MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Two classes at Santa Margarita Elementary School partnered up to give Pendleton’s Wounded Warriors a brighter Christmas morning, Thursday.
More than 40 students from Santa Margarita Elementary School, Oceanside Unified School District, invited two service members, stationed at Wounded Warrior Battalion West, to pick up the 23 gifts students had compiled for each injured hero in the battalion.
“These gifts are a symbol of the hope you give to us and the liberty you provide for us,” echoed the students in unison while holding a large banner reading “You are our special, brave and strong heroes!”
Students read letters written to Marines and sailors at the WWBN-W and expressed how much they appreciated each service member’s service and sacrifice.
“The red background stands for your courage and sacrifice, chanted the second and fourth-grade students. “The blue letters stand for your loyalty to our country and the justice you preserve. The white hands are a symbol of the hope you give to us every day.”
The children then listened as each service member told their story. Later, the children lined up to deliver the gifts to the WWBN-W representatives.
The battalion was founded last year in conjunction with Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s Wounded Warrior Battalion East. The unit’s mission is to help wounded Marines recover from their injuries.
You may break a Marine’s body, but you’ll never break his spirit,” said Sgt. Maj. Bradley A. Kasal, at the unit’s activation in August 2007.
We get tons of cards and posters, but getting to meet and see the person that gave it to you is something else, said Sgt. Eric G. Holkeboer, representative and squad leader, WWBN-W, MCB.
The students, from Mrs. Kearney’s fourth grade and Mrs. Koester’s second grade class, spent the last two weeks making banners and writing letters to the battalion, said Sheri L. Kearney, fourth-grade teacher, Santa Margarita Elementary School, OUSD. With the majority of the children’s parents in the military, the kids understand a little more of how much these Marines and sailors have sacrificed.
Santa Margarita Elementary School educates children in kindergarten through the fifth grade and is one of the four elementary schools on base.
We want our students to learn and recognize the joy of giving, said Kearney. And we could not think of anyone more deserving.
“I have heard a lot of thank-you’s lately, but this is a privilege,” said Chief Petty Officer Aaron Q. Seibert, representative and medical liaison, WWBN-W, MCB. “I truly feel honored to be here today.”