(Memphis) Mike Smith has always wanted to share his story about the impact several students at Saint Louis Catholic School had on him 44 years ago while serving in Vietnam.
Monday he got that chance while speaking at the school’s Veteran’s Day ceremony.
“Combat for me was a lot of waiting. When it gets exciting, it really gets exciting but for the most part, it was boring and lonely,” explained Smith.
But he said those stages of loneliness and boredom were broken up by letters from students at Saint Louis Catholic School.
“One day I came into my tent and there was a package there on my cot. I opened it up and it was from Saint Louis School. The fourth grade class here had written me letter. Every student in the class had written a letter and the teacher had written a letter. I went through all of these letters and I read them all several times. It was just great. I shared them with some of my fellow soldiers and I wrote back to the school,” explained Smith.
Smith shared his story with teacher Mary Jackson and Jackson thought her students should hear about Smith’s experience, “They’ve never really looked at it from the perspective that as a 10-year-old they can make a difference.”
The school is now planning on adopting a local solider that is currently deployed and sending him letters after hearing Smith’s story.
Smith said a letter can go a long way to helping a solider, “I think it will give him a touch of home. It will give him a sense of family and it will break some of that loneliness that he is bound to face over there.”