- Associated Press - Monday, May 30, 2016

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - It took three years, but Sarah Jane Yerger’s letter to soldiers in Iraq finally made it into their hands.

Sarah Jane had almost forgotten about the letter until she got word it and her flag drawing had been received and the soldiers wanted to say “thank you.” Because of her kind action, Sarah Jane has been honored at Oxford Middle School with the U.S. flag that was flown over Iraq in her honor.

Sarah Jane wrote the letter and drew the picture in the sixth grade as part of an assignment in Maggie Beavers’ English class. Students were asked to write a short letter to say thanks to the troops overseas and to draw them a picture.

“I immediately thought about the American flag and what it stands for and thought that might be good to draw,” said Sarah Jane, now an eighth-grader at OMS.

Sarah Jane’s kind words had touched the solders, such as MA1 Steven Enfinger, who hung her drawing in his air space in Southern Bahrain. Enfinger told the EAGLE he hopes to meet Sarah Jane and her principal at the middle school one day and had a message for her from Bahrain.

“To Sarah: It is a great thought coming from the younger generation, knowing the importance of our freedom and those who serve to protect it,” he said. “I want you to know that your flag flies proud in my space here in Bahrain and I will fly it for as long as I live, as a small reminder that we are not forgotten and who I serve. I hope that you share what you have done, even though it took almost three years for your letter to land in the hands of a sailor/soldier, your simple words and flag made a difference and I thank you. Stay in school, get as much from it as you can and strive for success. Best of wishes and good luck.”

Oxford Middle School leaders presented the flag the solders flew over Iraq to Sarah Jane as part of an award ceremony. She remains humble, despite her newfound fame, focusing more on the solders then herself.

“It’s not a choice they make in order to be rewarded, but one they make because their heart leads them to it. Men and women like Mr. Enfinger put their lives in danger every day for me and all of us,” she said. “Mr. Enfinger is my new hero.”

Sarah Jane’s letter also impacted her family.

“Her letter to him was genuine and from her heart, and I am very proud of how humbled she has been by all of this. She will never forget him nor will our family,” Jane Yerger, Sarah Jane’s mother, said. “We pray for his safety every day.”

When overseas, U.S. solders are lucky to hear from their families once or twice a week. By mailing even a simple message of thanks, Oxford residents could show support for those who risk their lives every day for America.

“I meant every word that I wrote to him,” Sarah Jane said. “I think we often forgot about the ones fighting for our freedom keeping America safe.”


Information from: Oxford Eagle, https://www.oxfordeagle.com

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