Veterans Day celebration turned a bit brighter for many of the local men and women who served in the armed forces thanks to the efforts of a local eighth-grade class.
Students in Michelle Gibbar's Rim Country Middle School Language Arts class began mailing out personalized "thank you" cards to veterans last Friday.
The cards were the result of a class project in which the students first studied the poem "Barbara Fritchie" by John Greenleaf Whittier.
The poem detailed the contributions of a woman to the Civil War effort.
From there, Gibbar led the class through studies of other wars and the sacrifices and courage of the American soldiers who fought in them.
The lesson culminated with the students designing and composing the greeting cards for local veterans as a personal thank-you.
Most colored and wrote the many greetings by hand but some, including honor student Lauren Bartoli, composed professional-quality cards on home computers.
After finishing them, the students could pick up to four veterans they wished to thank, from a list of about 80 Gibbar had obtained from local resident Lee Pretch.
The original list of veteran names and addresses was compiled last year from mail-in responses to the Payson Roundup and an essay contest at a local store.
Gibbar said she believed the project helped achieve one of its goals of developing a greater appreciation in the young students for the sacrifices made by the veterans.
One student said he never realized there were so many veterans living in and around Payson.
"I thought the guys that fought the wars were the ones you see in the TV and movies," he said.