Students meet Marine pen pal
3/31/2006 11:46:14 PM
By: Kate Barker, News 14 Carolina

MARSHVILLE, N.C. -- Some students at East Union Middle School got a surprise ending to their day Friday.

They were called to the auditorium, where they were able to meet the Marine they had been writing to for months.

The soldier, 1st Lt. Mitchell Moore, recently returned home after spending six months in Ramadi, Iraq. He was leading a platoon of 32 Marines.

“I think it’s cool that he has enough guts to do that, because I know I wouldn't,” said eighth-grader Jessica Dean, one of the many students excited to see their pen pal.

Student Mariana Zapata said, “We would write him letters to see what he was doing over there and just try to find information about him.”

Moore appreciated the attention.

“It was great,” he said. “Even with e-mail, telephone, Instant Messaging -- all these kinds of instant communication -- it’s still a joy to get a package or a letter in the mail.”

Moore, a graduate of the Naval Academy, shared some stories with the children and told them that Iraq is still a dangerous place. But he also told them he sees progress. He said Iraqi adults are thrilled to have a role in the political process, and he said the Iraqi children are getting the things that many American children take for granted.

“We brought school supplies, we took out soccer balls, we started to refurbish their elementary schools,” he said. “We did what we could. And of course, like every kid around the world, they love chocolate.”

Moore is based out of Camp Lejeune. He expects it won’t take long before duty calls again, but he is ready for his next test.

“I can't wait,” he said. “It’s why we’re Marines. We go over and help other people.”

Web Journalist: Kyle Almond