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NEWNAN: Navy officer visits young pen pals | News

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NEWNAN: Navy officer visits young pen pals
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SHARPSBURG, Ga. -- The pen pal for Mrs. Nickelson's first grade class at Willis Road Elementary is on a plane, landing at the Coweta County Airport.  They wrote him. He wrote back.

And like all budding relationships, it's time for the next step.

They are out of the classroom, in the sunshine, and just a tad excited. They stand behind the chain link, their heads inches from the top of the four foot fence, their arms outstretched, waving miniature american flags.

"There he is!"

United States Navy Lieutenant Commander Luke Suber flew all the way from his base in Norfolk, Virginia to Newnan to meet these youngsters. He steps off the plane to much cheering and screams and is soon flanked by the children. As he greets the children he says, "Thank you so much for writing letters to me when I was in Afghanistan."

Those letters, a sharp departure from war, from drudgery, from grown up letters.

One letter features a picture of a house and it says 'This is your house. It is made of wood. You live here.' Another asks, 'What do you do in the Navy?'

Another thanks him for his service, 'Thank you for what you do for us. You fight for us. You are great. You are the best ever.'

His gratitude includes a tour of the navy plane, given by his pal, fellow Lieutenant Commander John Voight.

Twenty minutes later at the school the men receive a deafening welcome from the few hundred children in the cafeteria. And it doesn't end. Down every single school hallway, hundreds more, waiting and cheering.

The Liuetenant Commanders are staggered, shaking every hand, returning every salute.

Lieutenant Commander Voight says, "Never in our wildest imaginations did we ever think that something like this could happen to us and it's really special for us to come out here."

These men knew a visit would be nice, but they clearly underestimated.

This is proof of the power of the written word, when delivered by children.

One of the letters Suber will take with him today says, "Thank you for fighting for our freedom. I am very thankful that you are fighting for us and thank you for coming."

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