For Memorial Day, Do Something For the Living
Since today is Memorial Day, we’re all remembering those who have made the supreme sacrifice so that we can be free to enjoy a day off.
But why not do more than just remember? Why not reach out and do something for those who are risking their lives right now — those who run the risk of making that supreme sacrifice every day?
No matter what you think of the war in Iraq (and if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know what I think of it), there’s no reason to hold it against the men and women who are sweating out daily mortar attacks and roadside IEDs. They can use your support — and I don’t mean slapping a stupid sticker on your SUV, either.
Here’s some ways you can reach out and help a soldier.
- If you’d like to send a care package, AnySoldier.com will make sure it gets to a soldier who’s serving on the front lines who isn’t already getting mail from friends or family.
- The Veterans of Foreign Wars has a program called Operation Uplink, where you can buy phone cards for soldiers serving overseas so they can call their loved ones back home without racking up phone bills.
- In a similar vein, Cell Phones for Soldiers will take your old cell phone, recycle it, and turn the proceeds into calling cards that are distributed to soldiers on the line.
- Books for Soldiers is an online service where serving soldiers and soldiers in VA hospitals can post things they like to read, and then if you own those books, they connect you to the soldier so you can mail them.
- Got a ton of frequent flier miles that you’ve built up? Donate some to Operation Hero Miles so that a soldier won’t have to pay for their flight home — or so that the families of wounded soldiers can be flown to their bedsides, free of charge.
- AdoptAPlatoon runs a variety of projects to get needed supplies to soldiers serving abroad.
- You can help deployed snipers get the specialized gear they need by contributing to AmericanSnipers.org (formerly Adopt A Sniper).
What if I just want to say “thanks”?
You can send an e-mail to a random member of any service you choose through anyservicemember.navy.mil. (Note that the Postal Service will no longer deliver postal mail addressed to “Any Service Member”, for security reasons.)
And finally, consider giving to one of these organizations that are working to make sure that soldiers get the honorable treatment they deserve, both during their service and when they come home:
My thanks to Operation Truth and the Department of Defense sites, among others, for helping me compile this list. For a complete list of ways you can help soldiers and their families, see AmericaSupportsYou.mil.