This is an intensely memorable weekend for many Americans, especially those in the military and their families.
Yesterday was the annual Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia. President Bush was in attendance as Navy shut out Army, 34-0.
There is intense rivalry between the two teams who are students at their respective military academies at Annapolis and West Point. It was, and always is, a particularly poignant game for the first year students; they play their final match against one another before graduation next year.
And today, of course, is the 67th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Until September 11 2001, the attack on Pearl Harbor was the closest that war had come to the U.S.
Both attacks share some similarities: they were sudden, literally out- of-the-blue strikes from the air. Both attacks caused horrible destruction and both left our country permanently changed. In a way 9/11 was the Pearl Harbor for the grandchildren of those men and women who experienced the shock of Pearl Harbor and then went on to serve in World War II.
The theaters of war consequent to 9/11 have seen the deaths of many American and Coalition service personnel. During that time, various organizations back here in the States have formed for the purpose of supporting our troops by sending packages and letters from “home” to those deployed in the danger zones.
One such group is Operation Gratitude. I have written about them before, an amazingly organized and well-supported organization which does outstanding work in getting companies to donate products for the packages they send out to deployed troops. For example, at the Army-Navy football game yesterday, holiday cards were passed out to those attending the game so that they could write messages to the service personnel who will be getting Op Grat packages.
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Operation Gratitude conducts a year ’round letter-writing campaign designed to make sure that American troops deployed out of the country get notes from people back home who want to be able to thank service personnel individually for their work and sacrifice.
This holiday season, they are stepping up their efforts to encourage people to write emails that will go into the holiday packages. There is a letter writing contest. By writing as many individual emails as you can, you increase your chances of winning the drawing to be held when the holiday campaign is over. If you like coffee, this is definitely the contest for you!
Here’s the link to information about the letter contest and the rules.
This is Op Grat’s home page.
The easiest thing to do is to read the rules and then leave a window open here. That way, as you finish a letter, you can return to the email window and start another as time permits. It only takes a few minutes of your time to dash off a quick email of gratitude to one of our military. I have done this on several days. If your have the window open, you’ll get on a roll. Each letter written makes the next one easier.
Think of these letters as Christmas presents that don’t cost you anything, yet they are priceless parts of yourself given in admiration to someone who is over there doing a next-to-impossible task. He or she needs an individual, personalized thank you from one of us.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the season than by expressing your gratitude to one of our military. Try it, you’ll see what I mean. And see if you can get people at your workplace or others in your family to join you.
The campaign ends this week, on December 12th, so open that page!