Students Make Holiday Cards for Deployed Soldiers

Thanksgiving is a time for food, friends and family. But many of our neighbors--those in the Third ID--are spending the holiday in a war zone. That's why some school children are trying to make their holiday away from home a little brighter.

They're sending messages of love and support, and they're not alone. Hinesville officials hope 26,000 holiday cards will make their way overseas by the holiday.

With a few strokes of a crayon, first graders at Taylors Creek Elementary school are turning their handprints into patriotic masterpieces: turkeys decorated in red, white and blue, like the American flag. The children are making Thanksgiving Day cards for soldiers who won't be home for the holidays to let them know how much they care.

They're messages they know will be meaningful to the soldiers. "Out of 17 kids, nine have a military parent," said teacher Candace Childs. "So they definitely understand a parent being gone for the holiday, they can relate to that."

"Because they can't spend time with their family," as one youngster put it.

The Thanksgiving Day cards are part of a citywide initiative started by Hinesville Mayor Tom Ratcliffe, who asked the community and school children to make 26,000 cards, one for each soldier deployed overseas.

"There's something about a child's ability to send you a card, something about reminding you what is at home," said Mayor Ratcliffe.

Each child wrote a letter and sent it to the soldiers along with the card, a message of love and support that will be felt a half a world away on Thanksgiving.

The cards will be collected at a special holiday service this Thursday, then sent overseas. Mayor Ratcliffe says the cards will be received by Thanksgiving Day.

Reported by: Melanie Ruberti,