Remember our active duty servicemen and women

Johnson City Press • Jan 30, 2020 at 7:00 AM

Between Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and other events throughout the year, we are reminded to honor those who served our country in the military.

That’s as it should be.

How often, though, do we remember to build up the men and women on active duty and in the National Guard and the Reserves?

Lake Ridge Elementary School students have done so every year for the past three, and we were happy to share that bit of bright news from Johnson City Schools with readers in Saturday’s edition. Fourth-graders put together care packages filled with comfort snacks and “thank you” cards for U.S. military personnel who were away from their families during the holiday season. The project started in 2017, when fourth-grade teacher Brandy Williams’ husband was serving in Afghanistan and away from his family during the holidays.

“Our family has been through several deployments and care packages mean so much to soldiers that are far from home, away from their families,” Williams said. “It is a way for us to send a small piece of home to soldiers who are deployed, and it also helps students understand that our freedoms are because of the service and sacrifice of our military.”

We should all take that to heart.

Roughly 1.3 million Americans are serving in active duty with another 800,000 in the Guard and the Reserves. An estimated 200,000 of them are stationed or deployed around the globe. These men and women deserve to know that they are supported and appreciated.

So how can you help?

While you can’t be a penpal with a specific person, several organizations act as links to active duty personnel. They forward cards, letters and care packages from the public to men and women in uniform in batches. Some also offer ways to send support to new recruits, veterans, wounded personnel and their caregivers.

Important tips from those organizations:

  • Be positive, uplifting and encouraging.
  • Be thankful, respectful and kind.
  • Avoid all politics.
  • Write about life and interests, such as family, hobbies, pets, sports, travel, books, etc.
  • If it is a classroom or workplace or group project, include a group photo.
  • DO NOT include your email or mailing address
  • DO NOT use your last name
  • Leave letters unsealed for inspection or they won’t be sent. Send them to the support organization in bundles.
  • DO NOT date letters as it may take months for them to be delivered.

A few organizations:

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