Each year, Jon receives letters from the students he has met. The over 700 letters are one of his most prized posessions. Below is a sampling of what some of these students have to say...
"I consider myself special because you allowed me to get to know you & your life. I will never forget you, please don’t forget us." -- Dawn K.
"When you got done talking & played "The Dance" by Garth Brooks and you came around to shake our hands I started to cry because all that I could think about is my dad Don ‘Bomber’ Larson, because he was over there the same time as you." -- Summer L.
"I feel that when I get down, I can think of you and become inspired." -- Wendy L.
"Thank you for helping me realize just how lucky I am." -- Chuck L.
"He was probably the best motivational speaker I have ever heard and probably the best grasp on life I have ever seen." -- Josh B.
"Not once did he hint towards hurt and anger regarding the war. I found it to be a refreshing change from the usual cynicism of today." -- Sarah N.
"It was like I could feel some of the pain that you have experienced. I was speechless and that doesn’t happen very often." -- Mande S.
"One of the most important messages that a person should leave with after listening to Mr. Hovde is that you should always do what your gut tells you is right. For example, Mr. Hovde said he did not really want to go to war at first, but he knew it was the right thing to do." -- Kathryn E.
"The book tells us facts and information but it isn’t half as good as having someone that lived what is said in the book." -- Kris S.
"When Jon talked to us, I wanted to listen. He brought out scars just to share his story with us. I really admire him for that." -- Amber G.
"It must have been awful to make these new friends, become close and see them lose their lives." -- Kylie R.
"When Mr. Hovde talked everyone listened not just with their ears, but they wanted to think about what he was saying and see what it meant to them. I don’t think anyone in that room could have felt sorry for themselves." -- Kevin G.
"I also learned that the littlest things, that no one thinks about, can carry many memories. You were lucky to repair your Bulova watch." -- Jessi M.
"I would more than likely of given up if I had to lay in an ice bed with injuries that you ended up with." -- Michelle H.
"I hope you continue this on for a long time, because other kids really need to hear it." -- Leah F.
"I also remember when you said that you like to touch at least one person in the audience’s heart. Well I don’t know about anyone else, but you surely touched mine." -- Diana G.
"I think it’s important for people to know what went on during the war, and the best way to get that information is from people like yourself who take the time to tell their stories." -- Jamie T.
"Most teachers and people have a hard time getting my attention, but you kept me interested and on the edge of my seat during your whole story." -- Jesse D.
"I found your story very emotional. It must have been something being reunited with your nurse after all of these years." -- Jeff M.
"Your experiences really touch the heart of others. Especially mine." -- Breanne F.