Heritage students say ‘thank you’


The Heritage School fourth-grader Sophie Smith finishes illustrating her thank-you letter to a soldier overseas. 

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, many Americans will have turkey, stuffing, and hours of football games on their minds. But those who fight for the freedom that allow us to celebrate this family-centered holiday time — our U.S. servicemen and women — somehow tend to be forgotten. And that’s where “The Big Thank You” comes in.

“The Big Thank You” is a thank you letter-writing campaign spearheaded by The Bert Show, a local morning radio show in Atlanta. The goal of the project is to give every serviceman and woman deployed outside the United States a hand-written letter of gratitude on Thanksgiving Day. In years past, they have received more than 400,000 letters from all over Atlanta and the United States which volunteers at the radio station then sort, package, and send off to our troops around the world.

This year, the entire student body at The Heritage School wrote a letter of thanks to a soldier overseas. “As we prepare young people for successful lives, it is critical to help them see that they are a part of something much larger than themselves,” said J.P. Watson, Head of School. “Recognizing the selfless service of our troops is a wonderful opportunity for students to appreciate, first hand, the sacrifice others are making for our freedoms.”

In total, The Heritage School sent in 453 hand-written thank you letters to “The Big Thank You” which included original drawings from Pre-Kindergarten students to polished reflections from Upper School students. “When we asked our high school students how many either had current family members in the armed forces or family members who recently served, over 75 percent of them acknowledged having immediate family members serving,” said Ron Rineer, Upper School Dean of Student Support and Government teacher. “When we looked around the room and saw the number of students standing, it was a very emotional moment and drove home the importance of recognizing our troops.”

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