War veteran impressed with students' patriotism

Jan 8, 2018

A local World War II veteran is overwhelmed by Grand Island students who honored his military service. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says a letter writing project brought the two very different generations together. 

“It was unbelievable,” said Richard Pealer, World War II veteran.

Pealer celebrated his 88th birthday on New Year’s Day. He served in the Korean War. 

In September Pealer and 50-other war veterans traveled with the Buffalo Niagara Honor Flight. They attended the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. and it was on that trip they received handwritten notes and letters from the Grand Island students thanking them for their service.         

Grand Island students who participated in letter writing project to veterans.
Credit Photo provided by Grand Island schools

 “Thank you for your service. It if wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be alive and all sort of cute stuff,” remarked Pealer.       

Pealer was overwhelmed.

“One of the kid said my grandad fought in Vietnam. It tears your heart to see how patriotic these youngsters are – we are going in the right direction – you don’t have to worry about our country with kids like this,” Pealer declared.

“It’s very nice to let them know that we appreciate that,” commented Aleksander Pyc, student at the Veronica E. Conner Middle School in Grand Island

Pyc said even though World War II occurred a very long time ago, it’s important to remember those who serviced and sacrificed for our country.

“My dad was in the Air Force, so it’s such a big sacrifice to the families to serve in the military and be away from our families a long time to keep our countries safe,” Pyc said.

“This new generation absolutely understands the sacrifice that have been made for our country, replied Kathy Brown, special education teacher at Grand Island Central School District.

Brown volunteers with Buffalo Niagara Honor flight and handles mail for the veterans. Brown reached out to other Grand Island teachers asking students to write the thank you notes to veterans.

“I find it very refreshing to read these letters and see what the kids are even saying because they are so genuine in their respect for the veterans,” Brown noted.

Pealer was so touched by the students’ letters will appear at Monday night’s school board meeting in Grand Island where he will present an American. This flag that previously flew over the U.S. Capital Building, which Pealer purchased.

“I just wanted to show some sort of appreciation and one night the flag idea came to mind, so that’s what I did. It’s something I’ll never forget,” Pealer responded.