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December 22, 2004

During Season of Giving, Don't Forget The Troops

As you dash around buying trinkets for your loved ones, please spare a thought for those who are sacrificing so much for us right now.

Those who are on the other side of the world, far away from their loved ones.

If you were to drive around any military base during peacetime, you'd be struck (as I often am) by how young most of our servicemen and women are. Even with the National Guard and Reserves serving, there are still an astonishing number of 18- and 19-year olds stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sons, daughters... all dearly loved by someone back here and all probably missing home very much right about now.

We have so much to be thankful for. Please look into your hearts this Christmas and Chanukah season and share a little of what we have with these men and women who have given so much to serve this great nation.

Marine Corps Moms has a way you can help the 2/10 Marines keep warm by sending handwarmers and other cold-weather items.

Deb tells a heartwarming story of how one Oklahoma man's generosity helped restore a weary and heartsore young Marine's faith that his service was valued by his country:

My oldest, Josh, came back from Iraq doubting (as "just a f*****' POG") that he accomplished anything worthwhile. No matter what I've said to him, he's been wondering if the time away from his new wife, and the rest of us, was wasted. He, like so many warriors, came back to a surprising amount of negative news and questions from people who delighted in asking incredibly stupid and insensitive questions. Even after some bad firefights, he thought he hadn't "really served". Josh and his wife finally found an apartment. He's been back from Iraq since October, and they've been staying with friends. Not cheap by Oklahoma standards ($950 for a small two-bedroom) but at least it'll be home. They spent the morning packing their few belongings. They didn't have much money left after the rent and deposits, but decided they'd spend a bit on some used furniture and eat sparingly until payday.

They found a small used furniture store. Inside, they spotted a green leather couch and a nice coffee table. Josh figured that could do double duty as a place to eat, and they'd wait to find a table for the dining room. While his wife wandered around looking for dishes, Josh approached the clerk and told him they'd like to buy the sofa and table and told him he'd have to go back to the apartment, empty the Explorer then come back for the furniture. The man asked him, "Are you new to town?" Josh said "Kind of, Sir...I just got back from Iraq. It's our first apartment."

The man was silent a moment, then thanked Josh for his service, and told my son to look around and see if they could find anything else they might need. The man told him that the items were on sale for half price. Josh was pleasantly surprised, and decided they might be able to add a few more things, since they were getting the furniture for less than they originally thought. They looked around for a while, deciding on a few more things like dishes, a chair, a few lamps and something to hang on the living room wall.

Josh approached the man and asked what their total was. That man looked at my son and said "Go over to the register, give us twenty dollars, and we'll call it even."

Josh was stunned. He stammered "Are you sure? I...I...Thank you so much!" The man said "Don't you DARE thank ME. THANK YOU for what you boys are doing for US." Then he said he'd help take the furniture to the apartment for them. Color my boy even more amazed. At this point my daughter-in-law was in tears.

Go read the rest: it will make your day. And if you see a vet this Christmas season, don't be afraid to say "thank you". They may not always know how to react, and they certainly don't expect to be praised. But they deserve our thanks.

And don't forget the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund: during the holiday season, your generosity can ease the financial strain on families of wounded Marines who will be in hospital over the holidays. Some of these Marines are facing months of painful therapy far from home, and the costs of travel and lodging for their families, not to mention missed wages from work for their spouses, can be daunting.


Here are some other ways you can help other servicemembers - I know I tend to go on about my Marines, but I am aware that there are other services over there and I'm very aware of (and grateful for) their service.

Also check out Blackfive's Support the Troops page. If anyone knows of any others out there, please let me know. I want to put a permanent directory in my sidebar right after Christmas - between work and just having set up the blog, it's just been too crazy. But I'd like to include as much information as possible, so any other sources will be greatly appreciated.

Another suggestion: if your budget is tight, you can choose a charity and make a small donation every payday when you pay your bills. This is one way you can have a large impact. After all, they're out there on our behalf every day.

Posted by Cassandra at December 22, 2004 05:57 AM

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Nice post Cass. And if I may say this site is looking very festive this morning. You seem to have caught the Christmas spirit, and not a moment too soon.

Posted by: Pile OnĀ® at December 22, 2004 07:45 AM

Why thank you, Mr. On. It's not as nice at what I'd planned, and not nearly so... err...decorative as your efforts, but I'm a working woman now and my time is so limited. But I'll have something up in a moment to titillate the male half of the human race.


Pr0n... after a fashion.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 22, 2004 07:52 AM

Over a year ago when dh got back from Kuwait, he had been craving Mexican food. Of course, the closest thing we have to a Mexican restaurant is a Tex-Mex corporate entity called "On The Border," but it is pretty decent (well, nothing compares with homemade and I DO know how to make those puffy tacos with the killer taco filling, but I digress).

Anyway, we were all having a great time, and the waitress asked dh why his hair was so short. He told her he had just gotten back from the ME.

Nothing more was said, and we finished our meal and were waiting on the check. She came back and
handed him the tab, and he got all choked up.

She had written on it, "Thank you for your service. This is on the house."

Talk about being humbled...

Posted by: Cricket at December 22, 2004 09:35 AM

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