August 14th, 2007 by lex
Here’s an update on Jim C’s request to support our deployed forces through a letter-writing campaign:
I just wanted to let everyone know where we are with the project. So far we’ve gotten about 160 letters. Things slowed down a little over the weekend, but I was expecting that more or less. I also wanted to thank everyone for everything they’ve done to make this happen. I couldn’t have gotten this far without your help!
I’ve posted about this on Free Republic, and have asked for help from Soldiers Angels as well. Of course, with a goal of 1000 letters, at 160 letters, we still have a long way to go to hit our goal. Any additional help or posts would be GREATLY appreciated.
I also wanted to take a minute to remind you all of who this is for. This is for the United States Marine Corps. These guys are over in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places that we may never know about fighting the likes of Osama Bin Laden, and the bastards that incinerated 3000 of our fellow countrymen on 9-11. They are your neighbors, your sons and daughters, your coworkers, and they are making unspeakable sacrifices everyday on our behalf. They are committing acts of kindness and bravery every day. They are heroes!
One of the most difficult things about this project is one that I didn’t even consider before I began. That’s reading these emails to make sure that only encouraging and positive emails get through to our troops, and I’m happy to say that I haven’t had to discard even one email yet. It feels weird reading someone else’s mail. That being said, I want to share with you part of one of the emails that I’ve received so far. It reads in part:
Our lives back here continue as if unaffected by the battle you fight for us, but you are on the minds and held in the hearts of your countrymen. At the beginning of the 7th inning stretch, God Bless America is still sung in all the ball parks, and I mean sung. It is serious, and, looking around at the faces in the crowd, you can see that it is deeply felt. You and your fellow marines are not forgotten.
Thank you for representing our country and protecting us. May God bless you and your family.
That’s what this is all about. It’s about not forgetting the sacrifices made daily by these heroes and their families. I know, I’m preaching to the choir. I just felt like I needed to share this with you all.
So, what’s next? I’ve decided to send this out in two batches. I’m going to send them 500 at a time, so that we can start to get these letters to where they belong. I will take pictures of the mailing and forward them to each of you to do with them what you want. Thank you again for all of your help. I couldn’t have gotten this far without you.
You know, when I was on a ship at war in 2003, we’d already been at sea for what seemed like forever when the kinetic phase of OIF kicked off. We were all gratified though the way the country had rallied round to support us. We received “Any Sailor” letters in the mail, and huge posters signed by folks from all over the place, sent to us from scout troops and classrooms and church youth groups. The logistics airheads in Kuwait were clogged with “any soldier/Marine” letters, too.
We were busy of course and sometimes we looked at those letters a little quizzically – they seemed to come from a place so very different than where we were at that it was as though the people who had written them existed in a separate universe. But they reminded us that there was a place where people could be innocent of long hard days at sea and dangerous work in the skies above a foreign battlefield yet still keep us in their thoughts and prayers.
It occurred to me then that we had in a way traded away our innocence to protect theirs, and that this was a worthy thing to do. Those letters and posters were deeply touching to all of us. We looked at them and smiled at them tenderly for a moment, and then we set our faces to our work and went back to war.
Then, our own work done, we came home and there were tens of thousands of San Diegans who showed up along the harbor roads and piers to wave flags and cheer us. Fire boats and tugs sprayed water hoses in the air in celebration. We had not yet begun to hear Lee Greenwood songs cynically. At home, TV commercials showed soldiers returning through airports to the applause of strangers.
They don’t much get that anymore. The work is no less dangerous.
Go to Jim’s place, please. Write a letter. Then email all your friends, the good people who once sent letters to aircraft carrier sailors at sea, who once signed posters of support. Tell them that it doesn’t matter much what they once thought about the war, and what they’ve come to think in the intervening period. Tell them that it doesn’t matter much that we’ve all grown tired of reading about and hearing about it. Remind them that no matter how this ends, brave men and women stood up for us in a hellish place and kept their faith, and that some of them that stand there still, who live and breathe and dream of coming home today may not be with us next week.
Tell them it’d be nice to write them a letter.