Fifty kids turned up at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library in Dix Hills to write a letter to a member of the Unites States Marines serving in Iraq as a way of commemorating Veterans Day.
Margie Hartough, the head of teen services at the library, has been running this program for seven years and this year's turnout was the biggest she has seen.
"Usually only 25 to 30 kids come. I'm really glad so many came this year. It's a wonderful program," she said.
The children, mostly middle schoolers, got an hour of community service credit, plus another hour if they brought a snack to donate to the troops.
Max Fasa, 12, a West Hollow seventh grader, said he wrote about what sports he likes to play, and about the fact that he is a "suffering Mets fan."
Morgan Rambolla, 13, an eighth grader at Candlewood, told a soldier in her letter how thankful she was that he was protecting our country. "And then I even wrote him a joke. I want to make him smile. I also drew a few pictures."
Divya Rao, 13, an eighth grader at West Hollow, said she "thanked the soldier for his bravery and his sacrifice to protect us."
Hartough said she told the students to tell the soldiers that they were living "free and happy lives" because of them. "I wanted them to share with the soldiers the things they do in an ordinary day. The sports they like. Maybe a vacation they went on. Music they listen to. These Marines are mostly 18- to 22-year-old boys over in Iraq. It's so heartwarming to see so many kids here, giving up an hour of their time to write to these boys."