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Our Brave
Men and Women
in Uniform

from Vickie

To all of you sending your loved ones off to keep our country safe, my heart goes out to you.

I have 5 sons and there would have been a time that at this stage of most of their lives, they could and would have been serving our country by way of the draft. One of them would like to go now. He has not finished school, is struggling to complete his education in an alternative program and when he is finished he will probably make that move to military branch of his choice.

One is in college and unfortunately he and his older brother have asthma and although they are registered with the selective service, would probably not be accepted. My youngest is 16 and still in school. My oldest 4 are volunteer fire fighters and although they are not to be compared to those going into the military and leaving this country to defend it, firefighters put
themselves at risk, like the police, every time they go to out to do their job.

It is the hardest thing for a mother to do is, sit and wait to make sure their son or daughter is going to return unharmed. All we can do is pray for their safety and that God will watch over them. This is also true of our brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, cousins, parents, and extended family members in these positions. The closer the family member, the harder it is for them to leave.

Lets all just say a prayer every night that those tending to our safety and freedom will be safe, and every morning that we are able to awake in a safe
free country while so many are fighting to help keep it that way.

I'm not sure how often those over seas get mail, but maybe we could all find a way to post emails to be sent by their families, or maybe even send letters to those we know and some we don't know.

I cant imagine being in a foreign country and not having contact at home. I'm sure with all the new technology, it is easier than in the past. But wouldn't it be nice if you have family sent on an assignment out of this country, and they could receive numerous letters, poems, words of wisdom to spend time reading to fill up those long hours of waiting.

So make sure that you pass their addresses along to family, friends, neighbors, email buddies, what about their school teachers, little league coaches, cub scout leaders, church members, etc.  People who made an impact on their lives.

Ask those writing to include an extra sheet of paper, and a return addressed stamped envelope and maybe even a few extra stamps. This would make it possible to get a reply and help by not increasing the expenses of our heroes.

I'm not even sure if they can get postage stamps while in another country or if their airmail is free to them, but it would be something small to do for them.

If they can receive packages, send them some nice writing paper with envelopes and stamps.

Find out what you are allowed to send, then maybe send some snacks, cookies, sweetened kool-aid to flavor their water, instant coffee packets, creamer and sugar packets, tea bags (their favorite kind/flavor), hot chocolate packages, chewing gum, tissues or handkerchiefs (if that is what they prefer), hair scrunchies, disposable razors, deodorant, batteries for a flashlight, or maybe a walkman, radio, etc.,  any personal items, writing paper, pens, pencils, local news clippings, magazines, puzzle books, reading material, small craft kits, yarn with hook and a pattern to crochet, a scrap book with glue stick and corners to hold in their pictures, things they might not have access to, but find out what is ok to send and how to send it.

Ask them what they need, what they miss, what they want.Around here, everyone who lives in this area wants TastyKakes. Now that is a local thing, out of Pennsylvania, but we do get them in Delaware and I'm not sure how far they extend their vending area. Also make sure whatever you send, it is packaged well and taped well, it has a long way to go, and probably a rough ride for delivery.

If you can't send packages and they are not allowed to get packages, then go with what fits in envelopes.

Use your computer and send a family news letter. Give them information on everyone in the family. Even if it is only a sentence, or just that Tommy says hello. At least it will help them not to miss home so much if they see everyone is thinking of them.

Send some "back in the day" or "remember when" stories, Funny things from their lives to make them laugh.

Don't forget to send pictures, especially if they are young parents with young babies and children or even if they are grandparents. Children grow up so fast. And change daily. Take pictures of every event, or make an event that you can take pictures of, remember, they are not here to see the daily growth, the birth of that new baby, the baby that takes a first step, that report card due out soon, chaperone that middle school dance, go on that class trip, see that teen in their prom outfit, and maybe even miss graduation. So take plenty of pictures, double prints do not cost that much.
Send them often, if they get lost in the mail, you still have a set and the negatives.

Make them not miss being home (even if that is inevitable), and not become homesick and not miss those precious moments that only happen once in a lifetime. If disposable cameras can be sent to them. Do it! Let them send it back for you to develop and send copies back to them.

Keep them informed, make sure they know they are not forgotten. Don't be disappointed if there is a delay in the mail, it could be they are writing many, or just that the mail planes don't go out very often, and that the mail is slow.

Another thing, if they cant get these things, spend your time waiting by scrap booking some mementos for them of the things they missed while they were away. What a wonderful homecoming gift for them, and a wonderful way for you to get through the long wait.

Lets all focus on prayer for everyone's safety and safe return of the away from home. Lets also focus on doing what we can to make their time away a little better and easier to bear.

I hope this helps to find ways to get through these difficult times.

Take care.

God Bless Us All - here and abroad.