'Dear Hero' card features a handwritten message by Mia, a child from the UK. The card reads, "Thank you lots and lots. All of you are amazing."
Photo by Nicole Torres

Dear Hero

What is a hero, and how can you show gratitude to those who act heroically? In this activity, inspired by “Dear Hero” letters written by children in response to 9/11, we invite you to write a letter or create artwork to honor and thank those in your own community who have stepped forward to help people affected by COVID-19.


During the current global health crisis, doctors, nurses, paramedics, food delivery workers, police officers, firefighters, and others are on the frontlines risking their lives to care for those impacted by COVID-19. On 9/11, many of these same people did their best to help those who needed assistance during and after the attacks. In response to these acts of heroism, many people, including children, from around the world created tributes to honor these individuals for their support and their heroism. These tributes included cards, drawings, and letters thanking them for their service.


  • Paper
  • Colored pencils, markers, crayons
  • Tape
  • Imagination: If you don’t have any of these, or if you want to use different materials, you can use anything you have at home
  • Children's card with handwritten message of hope and gratitude for doctors, with a drawing of a standing doctor next to a patient in bed.
  • Children's drawing of four first responders in yellow uniforms standing in a row alongside an American flag planted into the ground. Above the drawing, the words "Thank You" are written in cursive lettering.

Left: Collection 9/11 Memorial Museum, A Gift from the American Red Cross. Right: Dear Hero Collection, gift of Tanya Hoggard.


  • Brainstorm a list of people whom you consider to be a hero in your community.
  • Write or draw a message of gratitude. Download the template or create your own.
  • Get creative! Decorate your letter or artwork using crayons, markers, colored pencils, or any other materials you have at home.
  • Collaborate with your family as you create your message for more inspiration.
  • Tape your letter or artwork to your door or window for others to see and post it on social media

Share Your Creation with Us

Lesson Plan: Local Heroes

This lesson plan asks kids to consider who is a hero and how people can show gratitude to those who act heroically in their own communities.

A group of students sit around a table, holding pencils, and peering down as they work. They are deeply engaged in a learning activity.

Activities at Home

Inspired by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s Activity Stations, these simple, at-home activities offer step-by-step instructions for you to create your own artwork with materials you have at home.

Two girls are engaged in an art activity in a classroom setting while a woman sharing their table looks on attentively.