In a Split Second... Change the Worst Day for a Soldier into the Best Day
November 17, 2012
Do you like to write letters and send care packages? Are you thankful for our military? Does making people smile make you feel all warm and fuzzy? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I have a website for you.
The Soldiers' Angels is a non-profit organization started in 2003 by the mother of two American soldiers. Since then, hundreds of thousands of volunteers have written letters, sent food, socks, and toiletries and offered all kinds of support to our men and women in uniform.
I joined a few years ago by "adopting" a soldier. That consisted of writing a letter once a week, or sending a card letting my soldier know how much they are appreciated. At first, I just couldn't imagine that I could have anything to say that would interest a total stranger. But I learned that getting mail is a big deal to soldiers, airmen, and sailors. Some do not have family and friends to write to; sending a letter or card boosts their moral. And who doesn't feel good about that!?
As an example, from the Soldiers' Angels website, here's a 'Note From a Soldier'...
"Sure you might not be here on the front line, covered in filth, smelling like hell, your heart going a mile a minute, not knowing what's coming next... When I get a box (or anyone else gets a box) it's hard to describe. You find a nice quiet corner and everyone knows not to bother you. You sit there and look over the box as if you had never seen anything like it before. You read who it's from, and a smile crosses your face-- you recognize the name. You might already know what's inside, but it does not matter. Some tear it open as fast as they can, others take their time and enjoy every second of it. Once inside, you go through it, every little item once, twice, sometimes three times. It's a very delicate process. You breathe it in and you think of the person who sent it to you. You think of home, family, cars, summer-- everything all at once.... You are grateful. Then you look around and there's always a buddy who is down or having a bad day. You share your box--sometimes just with the one guy, sometimes with everyone-- and it's electric. Everyone catches that feeling, and we start talking about home, about things we miss, things we are going to do when we get back, and the heaviness of the day lifts and it's not so bad....It's not the "things" that are sent that matter to us, it's the thought. That's the power ALL of you have who take the time to send things. You can change the worst day into the best day, in a split second. - MP in Iraq"
Volunteering can cost as little or as much as you want. Some people crochet and sew items to send. Some donate money for supplies to fill backpacks with goodies for our deployed men and women.
A couple years ago, this all hit home with me. My son and daughter both joined the Air Force. During Basic Training, they both asked me to write as much as possible. Getting that letter helped pull them through each day. They are fortunate to have people who will write to them. So, as I sit down to pen a letter to my children, I take a few more minutes to make another brave American feel appreciated. Take a look at the site and see what you can do to show how much you appreciate those who are protecting our freedom.
Want to read more? Check out these books from MCPL:
- A Cup of Comfort for Military Families: Stories that Celebrate Heroism on the Home Front by Colleen Sell
- Heroes at Home: Hope & Help for America's Military Families by Ellie Kay
- Muse of Fire [videorecording] film by Lawrence Bridges
- Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and their Families by Andrew Carroll