In response to this, I created an assignment requiring the students to write a letter of appreciation to someone serving in the military or a veteran.
The students have two options:
1 - write a letter to someone they know personally who is serving or has served (I allow this because I know that for some of them this will be much more meaningful)
2 - write a letter in accordance with the Operation Gratitude guidelines to be included in a care package for someone who is currently serving.
Here is a link to Operation Gratitude's Guidelines for letter writing: http://www.operationgratitude.com/get-involved/write-letters/
I collect all of my students' letters, write a couple myself, have my little ones draw pictures for them and mail them all off.
Every once in a while a student will get a letter or email back and they are always VERY excited. I love any opportunity to show my students that their work can be meaningful in more ways than just a grade and this assignment is a perfect opportunity to show them the power that their words can have.