2nd grade class gets a special visitor from Iraq
By Melanie Petrucci
Special to The Friday Flyer

Master Sgt. Richard Perron of the U.S. Marine Corps 1 Marine Expeditionary Force was deployed to Iraq in August 2006, leaving behind a wife, four children and many friends.

While he was at Camp Fallujah, Iraq, Mrs. Melanie Petrucci’s 2nd grade class at Cottonwood Canyon Elementary School sent him and his fellow Marines letters of encouragement.

In return, MSgt. Perron mailed the class a poster size letter with a picture of his unit. In the letter he thanked the kids for writing to them and encouraged them to keep learning about American History and becoming good citizens.

He wrote, “We were all so happy to get your thoughtful cards in the mail. We can see you put a lot of time into drawing the pictures and writing the notes. It means a lot to us to get letters in the mail from people in the United States.

“A lot of you said you say the pledge to the flag every day. That is wonderful. We are glad to hear you care so much about your country and the people who make it safer,” Perron continues. “One of the reasons we are here is to make sure that kids just like you in Iraq can go to a safe school and salute their own flag every day. It is important for each kid all over the world to be able to go to a good school and learn . . . ”

This past February, MSgt. Perron returned safely from Iraq and came to visit his pen pals in Mrs. Petrucci’s class. He brought some of his body armor and pictures from Iraq to share with the kids. The pictures he showed were mostly of children living in Iraq and what life is like for them. He shared what Iraqi children eat and how they play.

The kids learned that Iraqi children are lucky if they have a bicycle and toys of any kind. They don’t get to go to Wal-Mart and buy what they need, said Perron, who also explained to the kids how the toys and things that Americans send over to Iraq are passed out, and that the citizens of Iraq are very happy to see the Marines because then they know they are safe.

Life is not easy in Iraq, but thanks to men and women like MSgt. Perron and his brothers and sisters of the USMC and the whole Armed Forces, the children of Iraq will have a better future.