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Many ways to support troops

Posted by Richard on July 3, 2005

Sometimes I overthink things. In a post Friday morning, I mentioned a project to send coffee and cookies to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Based on some off-line feedback I got, I’ve been thinking a lot about that post.

Was it too glib and shallow? As a way to support the troops, is a coffee and cookies package not sufficiently serious?  Are "support the troops" TV ads and cookie shipments just hypocritical, rah-rah, chickenhawk cheerleading? After all, I avoided Vietnam…

No, no, and no, I finally decided. I suppose I’ll always feel a bit uncomfortable, maybe guilty, about Vietnam. But this war isn’t Vietnam — different beginning (we were attacked — repeatedly), different (much better) goals, much bigger stakes.  And no draftees.

It’s OK to support this war, even if you didn’t serve when you were young. It’s OK to express your support for the troops in a variety of ways, including sending coffee and cookies.

A box of cookies from a stranger is more than a brief pleasant treat to share with comrades. It says, "You don’t know me, but I wanted to say thank you and to express my admiration, respect, and best wishes."

I suspect such gestures mean a lot to the service men and women who receive them.

If you can spare a few bucks, do something this Independence Day to support our troops or their families. Or their survivors. In the wake of the terrible loss of SEAL and SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment) forces in Afghanistan, I’ve donated to the United Warrior Survivor Foundation, which provides assistance to the widows of Special Operations personnel killed in the line of duty. Here are some other suggestions:

  • Soldiers’ Angels — Has a wide range of worthwhile programs, from "adopting" a soldier to providing supplies for wounded soldiers (often transported out before they can gather personal items) to sending Kevlar blankets for "up-armoring" HumVees, and more. You can even donate air miles to benefit soldiers and their families.
  • Wounded Warrior Project — Helps seriously injured soldiers, including amputees, deal with the challenges they face, obtain assistance, support each other, and return to civilian life.
  • Fisher House — Provides "homes away from home" at every major military medical facility so that family members can be with their injured service man or woman.
  • And of course, don’t forget the "mainstream" veterans’ groups that have been doing fine work for many years, the American Legion and VFW. And I send the USO a few bucks around Christmas; they’ve been making life better for the troops for a long time.

Want still more ideas? Go to America Supports You and click "Here’s How You Can Help" on the left. There must be well over 200 organizations listed through which you can help in some way. If you did real well with your stock options, give fifty or a hundred bucks to each one.

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One Response to “Many ways to support troops”

  1. Jan said

    Today I made a small contribution to United Warrior Survivor Foundation and Move Forward America. I can also vouch for Soldiers’ Angels and Fisher Houses. Hope others see your lead and follow with donations.

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