Butterfly Release Helps Kids Learn About Freedom

About 100 Monarch butterflies raised in captivity in Wyoming were freed Friday at Edinburg’s Children’s Hospital to honor veterans and to have the hospitalized children live the experience of releasing them.

A Monarch butterfly sits on flowers Friday during a Veterans Day Butterfly Release ceremony at Edinburg Children's Hospital. Pediatric patients released about 100 Missouri-born Monarchs. The ceremony wasdesigned to help explain to the youngest generation the meaning of Veterans Day and to honor those who have served.

The hospitalized kids who were able to walk left their hospital rooms momentarily and went outside the hospital to release the butterflies that were shipped from Missouri after a fifth-grade classroom in the St. Louis area raised them.

Because of the cool temperatures in Missouri, the butterflies cannot be released there said Cari Lambrecht, public relations coordinator for South Texas Health System.

The butterflies got a 1,144-mile jumpstart and began their migration to the Mexican state of Michoacán, where they will concentrate in their sanctuary, reproduce. Then they all make a return flight back to North America, Lambrecht said.

The butterflies, saved in new Chinese-food boxes, flew straight up in a circular motion “to get oriented” before disappearing.

Others decided to stay a little longer, perched on the children’s hair or the clothes, which gave people an opportunity to see them closer and admire the colors of their wings – a combination of orange, black and white.

The butterflies are tagged to see if they are able to make it to their destination.

As the butterflies flew south to their breeding grounds in Mexico, patients, their parents and staff made a wish for peace:

“On this Veterans Day, we wish for peace at home and abroad for our men and women in the military and their families back home who have sacrificed so much to give us freedom.” Sixto Garza, Director of Radiology for Edinburg Children’s Hospital and Edinburg Regional, an Army veteran honored during the ceremony, was moved by the natural spectacle.

“Don’t forget that there are more than a million service members – all different services-protecting our country so we can be free,” Garza said.

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