One of our readers, Babs, left an important comment today. I looked into the organization she mentions and it seems efficient, dedicated, and focused.
If you remember, on the first of this month I posted on Blackfive’s letters and emails for the troops in Afghanistan, plus some information about sending packages.
The organization Babs mentions is another of the support mechanisms for the troops. Read her comment and then look at the information on Operation Gratitude’s website.
My oldest son is a USNA grad, currently in flight school at NAS Pensacola. I asked him once how he can put up with all this s**t. He told me he swore an oath to protect those to say any stupid thing they want…
If our society as a whole could only be half as civil as the military men and women fighting to protect us, things would be quite a bit different.
Having a son at USNA, I was tasked by the local parents’ club to be the pen pal of Lt. Ron Winchester USMC, USNA class of ‘02. I took the job gladly and every Saturday morning would sit down and write him a letter. Many times I would make up a box of goodies, always on the look out in stores for deals on bulk gum, candy, snack foods, etc. for him to share with his men or hand out to the Iraqi children.
I would need to get this task done by 11:30 in order to get my letter or box up to the post office in time. EVERY Saturday on the way to the post office I would have to drive by the anti-war picketers at our major intersection. This didn’t bother me too much until the day I got the news that Lt. Winchester had his body blown apart by an IED. He was the first USNA grad to die in Iraq. For many months after his death I had terrible feelings of violence when seeing the picketers on a Saturday morning. I actually had thoughts of plowing my car into them…
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They have pulled every stunt in the book; the orange jumpsuit “Abu Gharib/torture” thing being one. (Do they hold potluck dinners and brain storm on this stuff? Anyone know where we can score some orange jumpsuits?) But when they went to the fake flag draped coffin show, a man stopped his car and attacked them with a snow shovel! He was arrested and it made a big splash in the local paper with the anti-wars wondering why anyone would be so violent as their cause is good and true…
About 6 months after Lt. Winchester’s death, my husband and I drove by the intersection and a large poster board was up with the pictures of the fallen from our area under the caption “They Died in Vain.” I wanted my husband to stop the car. I wanted to see if they had the nerve to use Lt. Winchester’s image in their sick game. I wanted to beat someone up. My husband refused to stop the car and told me to turn my head away…
As I am sure you can tell, this situation bothers me to this day and, so many times I have to fight back tears. Because, you see, it could be my own son too. He might fall defending the right of these people to undermine our country and our military.
I went to Lt. Winchester’s wake and funeral. I watched grown men cry. If you want to ponder a flag draped coffin, go to a military funeral. I guarantee you will never be the same.
After the falling of Lt Winchester I decided that sending gum and candy to one man in the war zone wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Since then I have been a proud supporter of Operation Gratitude, opgrat.com. Since 2004 our organization has sent over 300,000 packages to men and women serving our country.
So, grab your Starbucks and stand out at the corner in your costumes. I am doing something to make life just a little bit better for the men and women that allow you the right to be a traitor and a fool…
Operation Gratitude, which Babs mentions above has its home page here.
They are focused and organized, not trying to be all things to all the military, whose needs are large and ever growing. Thus they have two times a year in which people send items to be packaged and sent on to the soldiers:
WE ACCEPT DELIVERY OF ITEMS DURING THE FOLLOWING TIMES ONLY:
OCTOBER 1-DECEMBER 5 for the Holiday Drive
APRIL 15-May 15 for the Patriotic Drive
As you can see, that leaves somewhat less than two months to get everything to California in time for their sorting and packaging for the Patriotic Drive.
You can send letters all year, and of course, donations are welcome at any time. Any monies collected go into the expense of mailings.
You can write a letter anytime you want, too. They will forward it on:
16444 Refugio Road
Encino, California 91436
Here is the page which will direct you to groups, businesses or individual help (the individual slot is easiest for my purposes).
And here is a wish list of things you can buy and send to Operation Gratitude.
A perusal of the Operation Gratitude website is informative. You can see the many commercial sponsors, pictures of the donations being assembled and then being so happily received on the other end, plus the ideas they have for generating income and a deep sense of presence to the sacrifices the deployed military make everyday.
This group is inventive, organized and focused. After watching the video, here, you can see these are obviously top-down characteristics.
Think about what you have in time or resources to donate to this or similar programs. Just a letter would mean a lot.