Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to send loved ones a message straight from the heart.
Thanks to Wake County Public Libraries, it’s also a great time to express gratitude and thanks to those who served their country.
The annual Valentines for Veterans program is currently underway at each of the county libraries, including the Fuquay-Varina Community Library.
A craft table complete with all the materials needed to make a Valentine’s card has been set up in each library. The public has until Feb. 3 to visit a local library and send a special message to a veteran.
The cards will be delivered by library staff to the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Durham.
“It’s a wonderful program,” said Wake County Public Libraries Deputy Director Ann Burlingame. “It’s a real community event where everybody comes together to recognize what veterans have done for our country.”
Laura Harpham, Youth Services librarian at the Fuquay-Varina Community Library, said overwhelmingly, people are happy to do something for the veterans.
Burlingame said the program has become especially popular with young families.
“With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve seen many more families who have someone going away to serve,” said Burlingame. “This is a great experience for children because they can make something that shows their appreciation. I took my 8-year-old daughter last year and we are going to do it again this year.”
The program is not, however, just for children.
“We’ve had many senior citizens participate, even some World War II veterans,” said Burlingame. “That is exactly what we wanted, a program where everyone can become involved.”
For Harpham, the program has a special meaning. Her father was a 32-year veteran of the army.
“It’s wonderful,” she said. “It just reminds you how important veterans are.”
The program began nationally in 1989 after Ann Landers wrote a column encouraging people to send Valentine’s cards to veterans as a way to say ‘thank you.’
Schools, civic groups and scout troops adopted the program and Duraleigh Road in Raleigh became the first Wake library to hold the project in 2003.
Last year, county libraries sent 4,476 cards to veterans. Of that, Fuquay-Varina residents sent 80 Valentines.
“It seems everyone is drawn to this program, both adults and children,” said Burlingame. “It’s a great way to show appreciation and gratitude for all the sacrifices made by veterans while protecting our country.”
Contact Shawn Daley at email@example.com or Kelly Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org.