UPDATED: Thursday, December 26, 2013 - 12:08pm
Waco, Texas (KWKT) — Parents and students from a Dallas area school are upset Christmas cards they made for local veterans were denied delivery by the VA due to the message printed on the cards.
According to FOX4 in Dallas, a math teacher came up with the idea to send "Thank you" cards to vets during the holidays to show appreciation for their service. The teacher, Susan Chapman, is the wife of a veteran and also volunteers with the American Legion, among other veterans' groups.
Inside the cards are the words, "Merry Christmas, thank you for your service," with an American flag. FOXDFW reports around 52 students at Grace Academy in Prosper spent all day making cards they were planning on hand delivering to veterans at the VA hospital in Dallas.
When the teacher called the VA to fill them in on what her class was doing, the VA reportedly told her, they were happy to have the cards, expect they cannot have the words "Merry Christmas," "God Bless You," or any reference to biblical scripture because of all the "red tape."
FOX4 spoke with an official from the VA office who gave the following statement on behalf of the organization:
"In order to be respectful of our Veterans religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by Chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. After the review is complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card donation. The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care System. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding."
FOX4 reports the cards will not be thrown away, but be shipped to an Army medical center in San Antonio and a private veterans facility in Louisiana.