Letter to Afghanistan

soldier

Dear Michael,

Merry Christmas and happy new year from California!  We hope this finds your entire unit well.

In reading your http://www.anysoldier.com description of your work as a medical unit in the middle of nowhere, I was amazed at how much you are able to do with so little.  It is beyond impressive to hear that your Army doctors have performed complex surgeries such as liver repair and craniotomies with a 97% success rate, saving the lives of many women and children caught in the crossfire.  I was astonished to read that your unit is still being attacked by the Taliban on a regular basis.  Here in the States, we don’t hear about the situation over there very much anymore.  Suffice it to say that I am extremely proud that our service men and women are out there making it happen every day!

I was shocked to read that your location is so remote that supplies must be dropped in by aircraft from 8000 feet, and that the packages can explode like a bomb if the parachute does not fully open.

We are a tiny church here in Yuba County in northern California, and we will do our utmost to collect and forward the few items you requested.  We will make sure not to send anything breakable since we now know that our package is likely to fall out of the sky!

I’m sure that by now winter must have hit with a vengeance in Afghanistan.  It has been much colder than usual for California, with temperatures around 40 degrees in the daytime and down in the twenties at night.  We even had a few snowflakes over the weekend.  I am originally from New York, so I feel right at home!

My wife and I recently relocated to this area from southern California (near the Arizona border) to move in with family when I was laid off at work.  I have been unemployed for more than two months now, and I spend most of my time applying for jobs and working on my online blog on wordpress.com.  We have several nieces and nephews who live in the area, and we are pleased to be able to spend a lot of time with them now.  Even better, we get to babysit our little grandniece (one year old) almost every day while her mom attends classes at the local community college.

One of our nieces and her husband are in the service, based in San Diego.  They realize that they may be deployed at any time.  Another nephew of ours completed his tour in the Army; even though he has a good job now, he is thinking of going back in, as he would like to serve in Afghanistan.

My wife and I spent five days in the Fresno area over Thanksgiving to share the holiday with my family.  My parents live there, and my sisters (and some of their kids) traveled from New Mexico and Texas respectively to be with us.  It was truly a special occasion, particularly since we also celebrated my father’s eightieth birthday.  We are planning on doing it again in March when Mom turns 80!

As December advances, we are all looking forward to spending Christmas here with the extended family.  We will be thinking of you, hard at work on the other side of the world, and our prayers will be with you.

You can look forward to more letters and a care package from our church.  In the meantime, please accept our warmest wishes for happy holidays.  God bless you for all you do.

 

A few years ago, my wife and I discovered a way to support our troops overseas.  Not only are they separated from their families for years in some of the most remote locations in the world, but they never have a holiday.  Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are just regular days, business as usual preserving our freedoms.

There are many who remember our troops at holiday time, but then we tend to forget during the rest of the year.  This is a great time of year to send letters and packages to our troops overseas; they take so long to travel to their destinations that they will be received after the holidays.

Listen to some of the words that our brave soldiers have posted online:

  • “To all that donate to this cause, I would like to say from my heart, thank you very much.  Some of my soldiers receive nothing from home, so anything in the mail will make their day.”
  • “I have many single soldiers in my platoon that haven’t been receiving mail from friends and family.  Many of them have become discouraged because of this.”
  • “We have no heat or hot water.  We have microwaves but no refrigeration.  Many of my troops are brand new to the Army and it’s their first holiday away from their families.”
  • “With the holidays coming up, the soldiers would love to hear from you and the kids.  Drawings and cards remind them of home and help keep them going.  They’re passed out and then hung on the walls.  It helps keep the spirits and morale high!”
  • “Some of our young soldiers have no family and receive no mail.”
  • “There are a few soldiers here who are not receiving mail.  They don’t have much support from back home.”
  • “It makes our time deployed a little easier when we hear from people back home.”
  • “It is always nice to have a pen pal.”

Please take a few minutes to visit www.anysoldier.com and read some of the stories of the units who are working away in the military, unseen and often un-thought of here in the States.  On that website, you can find the postal address of the unit with which you would like to correspond.  Each unit has different needs — some ask for warm socks or toiletries, others want snacks such as chips, candy and beef jerky, still others hope for magazines and board games.  But what all of our soldiers have in common is the desire for mail from back home, the kind word that is so needed to keep them going.

Even if you cannot afford to send a care package, for the price of a postage stamp you can send a letter to a lonely soldier that will make all the difference.

May the spirit of the season move you to join me in supporting our troops.

 

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