By Erin Nash
Since 9/11, our country has seen a re-emergence of patriotism. It’s a wonderful thing and as the wife of a U.S. Army Soldier, it’s been great to see how many people support our troops.
My husband enlisted in 1995, fresh out of high school. He has re-enlisted several times, the second time being just one month before 9/11. While I watched our country being attacked, my thoughts and prayers were with all of those affected, but I also knew while I watched the devastation that my husband would leave shortly. He’s a special operations Soldier and is always among the first boots on the ground wherever needed in the world. He left Oct. 12, 2001, and returned before the end of the year, but it was a scary time. Not knowing where your Soldier is, what he is doing, and trying to catch a glimpse of him on CNN while at war is not a very reassuring feeling.
Since that first deployment, he has deployed several more times. The first few times was before the Iraq war, so sending him packages was easy-he actually needed stuff like snacks, magazines, baby wipes, etc. The last few deployments were harder-he had everything he needed readily available, which was a relief to me, but also left me scratching my head as to what to send him. I like to try to send a box at least once a week, because I feel like I’m doing my part in supporting him.
I got creative and went to the toy section at a department store and bought all kinds of fun stuff he could do in his downtime. I bought him all kinds of fun kids’ stuff to do, like a Slinky, a recorder, and many inexpensive silly things that he wouldn’t normally expect.
While he enjoyed getting boxes, what he really wanted was handwritten notes and cards. While I did email him every day, he really appreciated the letters and cards the most. It was great to get my son involved in it also, and I loved to receive his letters in the mail-it was something tangible from him that I could read and reread.
One of the best ways I believe we can support our troops is by supporting their families. My husband constantly worries about my son and I while he is deployed, even though we are always fine. Reach out to the families, because a lot of times just a simple, “How are you?” is a nice thing. Listen to their worries, their hopes, and whatever they feel like sharing. Invite them to supper or a movie – sometimes we feel like we got left out of the real world, of the normalcy of life.
There are many ways to support our troops, whether it’s sending a care package or thanking a veteran. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by.
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