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Last but not least - in fact most important of all my posts, is this one. I've posted here several times in the past few weeks regarding the support of our troops. If I've interested you in getting involved personally, here are some links, advice and tips on how to do just that. Support of our troops is so important, and certainly not difficult. For those of you with limited budgets never fear - letters are the most effective means of support and only cost 37 cents. For those of you with bigger budgets there are many soldiers who would love a carepackage with that letter. Here are some tips on letter writing and sending packages if you'd like to get started:
Whether you want to send a letter along with your carepackage, or just want to send a letter by itself, it helps to know just what you might say. The last time most of us wrote to a complete stranger like a pen pal type thing was perhaps 3rd grade. It helps to keep in mind what you intend with your letter. If you are hoping they might write back you'll have a slightly different letter than if you just want to drop a letter in with your carepackage to say who it's from. So here's a few ideas of what to write in a letter to a soldier.
Introduce yourself. Tell them a little about yourself such as your age, name (even though you're putting your name at the bottom of the letter still put it up at the top when you introduce yourself), where you are from, kids, pets, job...whatever you'd like to share. At least then through the rest of the letter they can have a visual image of who is writing to them.
Add a few words of encouragement and support. This doesn't mean you have to get all sappy - unless you are good at it. I'm not. I usually only have 1-2 sentences thanking them for their sacrifice and service. I tell them I am not good at being serious so that's the best I can do. I have had several soldiers tell me they appreciated that more than the 'supportive and encouraging' letters they received. One soldier even went so far as to say it was more encouraging than the other letters. He liked it.
Next - pretend you are writing to a close friend, and make the rest of your letter the same as you would write to a good friend. Ignore the fact that you just introduced yourself in the paragraphs above. Write about your good or bad day, what you did last week, what your kids are up to...your sick dog. Whatever. Include a joke someone told you that was funny if you have one.
Last, ask a few questions if you like. I usually say first something like, "I know you are busy but if you have time to write and would like to send me a letter I'd love to hear from you, whatever you'd like to tell or feel comfortable sharing." Then I ask them a few questions such as where they are from, what their job is, how they like it, whether or not they need anything or would like something sent to them, and I ask when their birthday is so I can send them a card and present for their birthday.
What should you put in the carepackage? That depends on a few things. Where they are, their gender, their access to electricity and voltage, and their needs or wants. There are many great places to find a list of ideas for carepackages, along with links to cheaper places to find the items or stores that give discounts if the item is for a troop carepackage. Here are a few links to carepackage ideas:
AnySoldier.com - What to Send
Operation Soldier Support Carepackage Ideas
Operation: Support Our Troops - Carepackage Ideas
Operation Letters From Home - Carepackage Ideas
This link I really recommend, despite the 'girlie' look of the page...read through it - some of the best and smartest ideas I've seen:
Girlposse.com - Themed Care Package Ideas for US Military
Ok, so you have a few ideas for what you might put in a carepackage. Next job is to find out who to send it to and where to send it. The easiest place I can tell you to look is here - AnySoldier.com - Where to Send. You will find a list of soldiers there, with their addresses at the top (once you click on a name at the left), and a list of males/females in the group, along with what they might want of need in their own words below their address. You can also sign up to adopt a soldier through Soldiers Angels, which is an excellent program and I highly recommend.
Last things to do before you close your letter or send off your carepackage. If you can - include a notecard (just a handwritten notecard works fine) with your name, address and email address if you have one, on it. Also - write the same information on the bottom or back of your letter. Why? Because they might forget who wrote it, even if they have your notecard. It's easier for them to remember and keep track of their new friends if the information is also on the letter. Often envelopes get torn or thrown away. This way they can more easily respond if they like. If you send a carepackage, you can put the notecard in it as well - but go one step further. Soldiers more often like to send thank-you notes for carepackages and will take the time to write down all the addresses on the boxes before they open them. This takes time and effort. Make it easier for them. They do not know beforehand that you have a notecard inside the box with all of that information. So save them the trouble and tape that notecard to the outside of the box...in a fashion that makes it easy to get off the box. Heck...put on the notecard "Tear hear to keep this notecard with my address". Whatever - as long as it saves them the time and makes it easier, they will love you.
Want more ideas, stories on what it's like to be involved or advice on how to do just that? You can check out these posts and visit my own blog often for new posts on these topics:
I hope everyone reading this decides to send at least one letter this week. If I've accomplished nothing else posting at the Mudville Gazette these past few weeks except to encourage a few people to write letters of support to our troops, than it was worth it - well worth it. If you have any questions you'd just like to ask me personally or would like to email me to let me know you're excited about your first letter mailed out I'd be happy to hear from you! God bless our troops!!!
An idea: Instead of slapping one of those phony yellow ribbon stickers on your car, send them a box. I've sent about 20 boxes now, and I've heard from a number of troops who have seen and/or heard about those yellow ribbons and, to put it midly, think they're a bunch of bullshit. Just so you know.Posted by Wilson Kolb at October 5, 2005 06:27 AM
Wilson, I must tell you. It's not the ribbon, it's the box which is the problem. They are returning in one so they don't like to think about it. Wouldn't you?Posted by Sinke at October 5, 2005 08:23 AM
Thanks Holly for a well written article! Don't forget the female soldiers! They have different needs from the male soldiers! Again, thanks for all that you do for our troops! I have sent out over 30 boxes in the last three months and I know our soldiers appreciate them! God Bless!
Oh, horseshit Sinke. There have been about 2,000 reported American military deaths. There are 140,000 troops deployed, and oviously there have been many more in total. So, no, they are not "coming home in boxes." Some are, yes, but not in the way you describe.
I write this as someone who opposes the war and thinks that all 2,000 deaths have been in vain. But your comments cross the line, and I vehemently object to your whole approach. Those people are fellow Americans in harm's way. They don't get to choose where they are sent, and you'd best remember it.Posted by Wilson Kolb at October 5, 2005 06:50 PM
Ha ha ha ha!
"They are not coming back in boxes. Yes, some of them are...."
Oh man.... what a mockery! Are you happy now? This was great. I will write this in my book and when USA sends me somewhere where I didn't choose to go for the reasons nobody in my last few posts have gave me I will laugh even because of that tragedy. Our problem, Wilson, is that you who oppose the war and people who agree to war are on the same level of sociological intelligence and influence. Bush can do whatever he and his cowboys want as long as he has people who are drawing eagles on sites around and when their opponents are people who claim that troops are going back in boxes not all, not really.
Right now I deleted a paragrph full of sarcasm and terrible conclusions. Because I feel for people who are troops in Iraq. What I want to say is also capable of saying through this:
Yes, my saying is difficult to comprehend. But I am not laughing, mister. I am crying "God help United States of America" I sometimes write things which hurt because they are true, mister. Mister, US have entered in what was uncomprehandable by people who were building US. Mister, we have people in Iraq who are so young and innocent that army didn't manufacture helmets for them. They wear helmets which are bigger than their heads. And mister, when you blow up in Iraq, they send your body in box. That was on TV, a huge plane coming down from air. And when it was oppened it was full of coffins. . Mister. Mister. What are we going to write in history books for our children? For kind people living in Western Democracy? Are we going to claim we have send thousands of people like them , found out that there was no nuclear weapons, that we attacked and occupied foreign country without any document of reason? That we broke all laws we were protecting in our country? Mister. Mister. Kids are in Iraq. Mister. Kids, mister. Do you wish to fight terrorism? Mister, then sit on the negotiations table with the terrorists. The policy "we don't talk with terrorists" has lost it's meaning now. If we would start talking to them ,we would found out that there was no international terrorism before, and that international terrorism today is mostly Islamic. And maybe they would tell you they have problem with US. Not because of East and West, not because of Liberal Democracy and Sheriat, not because of the differences of culture, not because mentality, not because of the territory.
Mister. 11/9 happened because US has made unprudent manevoures when building Israel. This problem is huge, because there is no middle ground. Israel has right for it's sovergnity and territory but now it is time to ask ourselves what are we going to do there since US is part of the problem, therefore the solution. But honestly, when this problem is solved, we are going to live in world where Palestinians won't celebrate when two planes crash into the skyscrapers.Posted by Sinke at October 5, 2005 11:22 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(5) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)