Jamie Oberg, News 9
PUTNAM CITY, Oklahoma -- Thousands of Oklahoma's finest can't come home for holidays. They'll be fighting overseas. News 9 discovered a special surprise the 45th will get from high school students in the metro.
It started with one teacher, who is a retired Marine. On Veteran's Day, he told Putnam City students about spending holidays alone, getting letters from home first in Vietnam, then Desert Storm.
He thought some kids might be moved to write to the troops this year, but was overwhelmed by what happened next.
It's just a pile of letters, all written by high schoolers. At first they all look and sound similar.
"These letters, when I started reading them, you know, an old sergeant, it brought tears to my eyes," History teacher Richard Heard said.
The Veteran and history teacher wants to prepare Major General Myles Deering for what he's about to deliver to his Oklahoma soldiers.
"I never thought this would get this large, started coming in and students writing, it just snowballed," Heard said.
This is not a homework assignment. Dig a little deeper into these piles, these letters aren't just from high school strangers.
"It's hard enough having them fighting being afraid of what might happen to them when they're over there," said Ruth Key, whose father is in the U.S. Air Force.
"This has been a tough deployment for our soldiers; this kinda stuff goes a long way, so thank you," Major General Myles Deering said.
Thousands of hearts are writing to Afghanistan from home. Dear soldiers, with love from Oklahomans of all generations.
The Mission is mailing now, if everything goes well with the post office, Oklahoma National Guard troops will get 2,000 letters from Putnam students in time for Christmas.
As OSU and OU prepare to go to battle, they will be united in their support for our troops. Look for both sides of the line to have the 45th's historic Thunderbird emblem on the back of their helmets in Stillwater Saturday night.
"They have their flags hanging up for OU or OSU, they do the Bedlam thing over there, but you know at this point in time it's not about that, it's insignificant who wins," Deering said. "It's about being an Oklahoman and sharing the spirit of Oklahoma with everybody."