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Supporting the Troops

Marlboro ManMonday’s holiday inevitably got me thinking about our men and women in the military today, especially those on active duty in areas like Afghanistan and Iraq. I have a special place in my heart for our combat veterans and try to do what I can to help give them strength and support. Yesterday afternoon I sent in another application to adopt a soldier as a pen-pal. This will be my third time adopting a soldier and I really enjoy it. For anyone interested in doing more to support our troops I highly recommend this option. Anyone who has ever gone away to school knows how exciting it is to receive letters and packages in the mail. Now imagine you are a U.S. soldier stationed thousands of miles away from friends and family in what can only be described has a hostile war zone. That’s why I decided to get involved this way. Troop MassThere are many soldiers who wait for mail every day and never receive anything, even on the holidays. Not only do these men and women endure the extreme condition of living in a kill or be killed situation, but many of them do it with us in mind. The first soldier I adopted (and I have heard other stories like this) signed up for the army right after September 11 because, living near New York City, he heard many personal stories of people who lost loved ones and wanted to do something to help defend our country from another attack. We all have different opinions about the war, our reasons for going and its overall effectiveness but that doesn’t change the fact that we are in a war and there are men and women risking their lives in it – many scared and lonely, holy machine gunneeding nothing more than a friendly note from home saying “I remember you, I am thinking about you” and, more importantly “I am praying for you.”
There are many different ways to send love to our troops. One of the other things I like to do is to send rosaries and prayer books to army chaplains stationed overseas. Aquinas and More’s online Catholic store has a gift registry for Catholics serving in the military. There are various care packages. Some can be found at, and Treats for Troops or you can make your own. I prefer to do the pen-pal adoption, which involves a weekly card and monthly package, because it is a little sleeping arrangementsmore personal and is more than just a one time gift, but it’s not for everyone. The organization I use is Adopt a Platoon, founded and operated by the mothers of men and women who are or have been serving overseas. They are very dedicated and offer a wide variety of ways to contribute, including specifically themed campaigns. There is also support for wounded soldiers. For those who cannot spend a lot of time and money sending letters and packages overseas spiritual support is also greatly needed.

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