Dinner Topics for Thursday
It has been said that war is organized boredom pierced by moments of sheer terror. On top of fending off attacks from enemies, soldiers must combat boredom, loneliness, homesickness and low morale on a daily basis. Write them letters! Not just once— but frequently. It’s the least we can do.
Update: I recently received a note from a serviceman, in response to letters I have written through this organization. It made my day. If you can take the time to write these brave souls, it is well worth it. ~C.D.
NOTE: I checked out the sites mentioned below. Any Soldier requires a donation first, and is complicated, because they give you a specific name, and then try to keep track of that person who gets moved frequently. So your letter may not even reach that person. Operation Gratitude, on the other hand, is simple. It shows you where to send a letter, either to someone currently deployed or a wounded warrior, [or both], and ends up being more personal, and all it costs is a postage stamp! Sometimes they write back, too. You can correspond and keep their spirits up; life is tough for them.
Here is the address:
Operation Gratitude/CA Army National Guard
Attn: Angel Cuevas
17330 Victory Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91406
There are other options, but a letter is most personal, and more likely to reach someone who will truly be blessed by your efforts. And you are more likely to reach more soldiers, because it’s so easy—something you can do on a regular basis, such as a Sunday evening activity with your family. The first and most important piece of advice is to keep the message upbeat and positive. The only topics not appropriate are death, killing and politics. Let the soldier know you are praying and offer encouraging Scripture, but don’t make the letter a sermon. Remember that the point of the letter is to show appreciation and make the soldier or veteran smile. Thank you for remembering and honoring our brave heroes who risk their lives for our freedom and comfort. ~C.D.
Operation Thank You
A small expression of gratitude can make a big difference on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or all year long.
Eleventh hour. Eleventh day. Eleventh month. It is 1918 and the Allied Powers have finally signed an armistice with Germany, ending major hostilities between the two countries. A year later President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 Armistice Day, setting it aside to show recognition of and appreciation for those who sacrificed and served in our military forces. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower designated it as Veterans Day.
Why we write
It has been said that war is organized boredom pierced by moments of sheer terror. On top of fending off attacks from enemies, soldiers must combat boredom, loneliness, homesickness and low morale on a daily basis.
Standard strategies to fight these include practical jokes, reading, writing letters and creating games that take as long to explain as they do to play.
Soldiers in any branch during any operation will say that, next to getting orders to go home, the best thing they do while deployed is opening letters and packages from home. But many soldiers go through entire deployments without receiving one phone call, one email or one care package.
Operationgratitude sends letters to active duty soldiers and veterans who have returned home. One veteran responded to Operation Gratitude, writing, “When I opened your envelope today and read your letter and the three others you have sent me, I was profoundly moved. Through the years since I returned home, I have had people, from time to time, thank me for my service. But this is the first time I have received letters written from the heart by people who have no idea who I am – only the fact that I served. With each one I read, I could feel the emotions welling up inside. When I finished the last one, I was filled to bursting with pride, love for my country and love for my people. Please accept my thanks for your thoughtfulness and caring. I never thought letters like this could have such an effect. You have given me a gift I will carry in my heart always.”
What we write
Operation Gratitude realizes people often don’t write because they don’t know what to say or are afraid of saying the wrong thing. The organization provides useful information for those interested.
The first and most important piece of advice is to keep the message upbeat and positive. The only topics not appropriate are death, killing and politics. Let the soldier know you are praying and offer encouraging Scripture, but don’t make the letter a sermon. Remember that the point of the letter is to show appreciation and make the soldier or veteran smile.
Also include the reason you are writing. Do you have a family member serving who has inspired you to show support to every person in uniform? Do you not have a family member or friend serving but want to say thanks to a true hero? Express that in the letter.
Above and beyond
There are many opportunities to encourage soldiers beyond writing letters. Operation Gratitude encourages supporters to fill packages with candy, CDs, DVDs, books, coffee, balm, sunscreen and other needed items. For a list of soldier-requested items, visit operationgratitude. There is also a link to purchase specific items on Amazon.
Another way to get involved is recycling an old cell phone. Many programs will accept old cell phones and tablets, recycle them and use the money to buy phone cards for soldiers to call home whenever they find down time.
For a frequently updated list of ministries and organizations that offer ways to encourage soldiers, visit military.com.
Not just for Memorial Day, but regularly, send a letter to a soldier or a veteran. Give special recognition to friends and family who have served. No matter what you write, pack or do, make a concerted effort to give honor to the heroes who walk in our midst.