Most elementary-age children have been told that Saddam Hussein is not a nice guy and that the nation may go to war any day.
But they really don't understand the reasons.There's one thing about the gulf crisis that these children do understand - that thousands of families have been broken apart and that people may die. And because of the gulf crisis, many are experiencing tension.
Members of the Scera Park Elementary School PTA feel young children should have a better understanding of what's going on in the gulf and the implications it may have. They also believe it's important that those serving the United States from Utah County know they are appreciated.
Leslie Judd, publicity director of the Scera Park PTA, decided that a school project that involved those in the Persian Gulf would help accomplish both objectives.
"We just wanted to do something that would get the students involved in what is going on over there and give them a feeling of what others might be experiencing," Judd said.
The result: a giant 72-by-90-inch valentine signed by the school's 370 students and 23 faculty members. The valentine, with two pockets stuffed full of candy, will be sent to the Persian Gulf Thursday. The valentine's destination is the 120th Quartermaster Detachment, the National Guard unit from American Fork called to duty in August.
"I think that they'll like it because it will show them that people back home appreciate what they are doing," said Derek Downey, a fifth-grader at Scera Park.
A note was sent home with each student on Monday, urging parents to discuss the importance of supporting those participating in Operation Desert Shield. Judd said the activity has ignited interest and teachers are being asked more questions about the Persian Gulf activities. The variety in the messages written on the valentine depicts the different feelings the students have.
"May God be with you," one message says. "Thank you, good luck, our thoughts are with you," another message says.
"Take my advice, get out of there," wrote a student who apparently thinks those in the gulf are there by choice.
Most of the students say they are a little scared about what may happen and hope there is no war. But they also say that Saddam must be punished. They hope the valentine will comfort those who have been separated from their families.
"Because it's such a big valentine with so many names on it they'll be able to see how much we care," said Jessica White, a Scera Park fourth-grade student.
"I feel sad because I know we could be losing a lot of young people," said fourth-grader Aaron Baker.
The school's address is written on the valentine and Judd hopes those in the gulf will respond. She said the students are anxious to hear a first-hand account of events in the gulf.