East Texas Students Say "Thank You" To Vets At Lunch - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/11/04-Tyler

East Texas Students Say "Thank You" To Vets At Lunch

  "This is Monica... She goes to school here," says Vietnam and Korean War Veteran, Lieutenant Ed Harwell.

 Even though the 4th grader he's talking to has never met him before she has something important to say.

  "Thank you for being a Veteran," says Caldwell 4th grader, Monica.

  Gratitude was the running theme of the day and something Veterans say means the world to them, even when the kids may not fully grasp their sacrifice.

  "I just know he's dressed in this like that," says 5 year old Matthew, just visiting the campus for the day.

  "We're just proud to come represent the Military and the Veterans and talk to kids like this who are our future," says World War II Vet, Lieutenant Mac McSpadden, as he holds Matthew's tiny hand in his.

  Also a Navy Pilot in WWII, Lt. McSpadden says Veterans Day is always bitter sweet.

  "We saw a lot of air combat. We saw the invasion of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. It was not a pleasant sight to see your comrades shot laying in the water, terrible things. But I'd do it again, if they'd take old men like me. I'd go tomorrow. These kids are what we fought for, they are our future,"  said Lt. McSpadden.

And for those sacrifices, these future leaders are grateful.

"Without the Army we'd be falling apart fast, and losing wars, but since we have people like this man here, we can win no matter what," says Caldwell 5th grader, Ben.

"We need people who love this country so much they would die for it," echoes Lt. Commander, Paula Warren.

Even before lunch with this Greatest Generation, Ben had plans to carry on the torch these Veterans lit long ago.

"I'm going to be like my Papaw, who was a Boatsman Mate in Vietnam," says Ben

A statement that brings tears to Lt. Harwell's eyes, as he says, "I feel like I did some good over there."

Reporting: Braid Sharp bsharp@kltv.com

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