"And it became like a big friendship to them, you know they started e-mailing, he started e-mailing them back," explains Robin McClellan, a 5th grade teacher at Philadelphia, Elementary.
She is talking about Matt Stovall, a member of the 367th guard unit and her 5th grade class. Together, they have created a long distance friendship fueled by e-mails and letters, bringing the war a little closer to home for this classroom.
"It’s really put them into history, because we are learning U.S. history in 5th Grade. They are going to high school and learn this and they can say they were there, they did this," says McClellan.
In this day and age these kids don't just write, they use e-mail and even talk to Matt through a web camera, giving them first hand perspective of their friend worlds away.
"Every night when he goes to bed he has to wipe the sand out of his bed," says Tyler Moore a 5th grader.
"We talk to him all the time, hell just pop up while we are working and we'll all go to the computer and see what he says," says Sarah Mars also a 5th grader.
Matt even sent back this flag, signed by member of the 367th unit and flown in Kuwait and Iraq during the war, a souvenir these kids marvel every day.
It’s very clear that this friendship is much more than a learning tool; to Matt Stovall and members of his unit it’s a way to stay in touch with a world much more simple than they know right now, for these students it’s a way to become a part of history in the making.