NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — An old tradition met a new generation on Long Island on Friday when a group of young school children met their pen pals.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the kids at Stewart Elementary School in Garden City, also got a real life history lesson from World War II veterans.

“I get emotional when I think back. It was a privilege to serve,” Joseph Frey said.

Paying tribute to veterans took on a whole new meaning when the children spent the day learning about wars fought in far away lands, and the sacrifices made by their grandparents and parents, even two of their teachers served overseas.

“We always try to connect learning with things that are authentic,” Stewart School  Assistant Principal,  Susan Kenny, said.

The children’s studies led them to the Honor Flight, where World Ward II veterans are flown to the Washington D.C. memorial aboard an aircraft where the tradition of ‘mail call’ was carried on, and letters of appreciation were handed out.

“This is one of the greatest moments of my life. See, I’m breaking up, get very emotional about that,” veteran, Michael Dalmeto said.

The next honor flight and mail call has been scheduled for June of 2015, and these students and honored veterans all plan to be a part of it.

The students said they plan to recognize Veteran’s Day as more than just a day off from school.

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