July 3, 2005: Headlines: COS - Moldova: Iraq: Service: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Moldova RPCV Diane Hardy supports troops in Iraq with letters

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Moldova: Peace Corps Moldova : The Peace Corps in Moldova: July 3, 2005: Headlines: COS - Moldova: Iraq: Service: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Moldova RPCV Diane Hardy supports troops in Iraq with letters

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-23-45.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 10:07 pm: Edit Post

Moldova RPCV Diane Hardy supports troops in Iraq with letters

Moldova RPCV Diane Hardy supports troops in Iraq with letters

"Regardless of our politics, these men and women are sitting in harm's way, and we're sitting comfortably at home under their protection. Most Americans have not been asked to sacrifice anything for this war."

Moldova RPCV Diane Hardy supports troops in Iraq with letters

Deeds that truly support our troops


Posted: July 3, 2005

Bumper stickers entertain me while I drive. Even if I totally disagree with the sticker, I love a well-written, original one. The message tells me about the drivers' travels, their politics, their wit, their hopes, their cynicism, their activism.

That's why I have been fascinated and a bit perplexed by the proliferation of the "Support Our Troops" magnets on vehicles. I am especially bemused by the irony when they appear on the back of a gas-guzzling SUV. I wonder how many of these people actually do something to help our troops.

For me, deeds, not words, define the person. So now and again, I'll ask people who display these magnets what they do to support the troops. I often get a surprised or embarrassed look. Their "support" usually amounts to a 99-cent sticker purchased from a discount store.

Really supporting our troops is surprisingly easy. Most units have family organizations that send packages to their men and women fighting overseas. They need supplies and some serious cash to mail packages. You can donate airline miles or phone cards or help out a family with a loved one serving overseas.

I originally started sending letters and packages when a co-worker's unit was called up before the Iraq war started. Then I found www.booksforsoldiers.com, which connects people to soldiers who could use a boost. I have written to nearly a hundred soldiers, heard from about half of them and regularly correspond with about a dozen at a time.

I've happily seen many come home and be reunited with their families. Others are on their second or third tours. I've received cards and e-mails of gratitude from their families. Some of the soldiers I now call friend.

One did not make it. I scan the names released by the Pentagon each week with trepidation.

Some of my pen pals are young, overwhelmed 18-year-olds. And there are the salty guys who've seen more than one war. The women share great tales of their testosterone-driven worlds. Some barely finished high school, and others have advanced degrees. I write to privates and decorated officers.

And they all miss home. Terribly.

All of them appreciate the good thoughts and prayers. Every single one has said, "I'm glad someone back home thinks of me."

Having lived overseas, including a stint in the Peace Corps, I know how lonely mail day can be. Soldiers prefer to hear from the "real" world regularly, not just at Christmas.

When I offer to send a box, most soldiers are shy to ask for anything. They want little things like Lucky Charms, a good razor, Twinkies, decent coffee and spices. They go crazy over movies and books.

These men and women share with their unit. They swap movies and books and pass them on to the people who replace them. Many of the soldiers ask for candy, stickers and school supplies to hand out to Iraqi and Afghan children.

Their letters are powerful. Their photos humble me or make me cry. Iraqi and Afghan currency adorns my refrigerator. These men and women sometimes only have time to write a short note, but there is often hope, fear, frustration, gratitude and loneliness packed into a few lines. I am almost always compelled to write or e-mail right back.

Regardless of our politics, these men and women are sitting in harm's way, and we're sitting comfortably at home under their protection. Most Americans have not been asked to sacrifice anything for this war.

Although I really don't want to think about how much I spend on these boxes, I think I can bypass a dinner out or a new pair of shoes to give the soldiers a piece of home. Even on a tight budget, most people can afford a stamp or find time to dash off an e-mail.

Most of the soldiers don't really care about the packages. Commanders tell me that just getting a postcard with their name on it can bring tears to the eyes of a weary soldier.

So if you really want to support our troops, skip the magnet and get involved.

Diane Hardy is an educator in the Milwaukee Public Schools. Her e-mail address is talktodianehardy@yahoo.com

When this story was posted in July 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related stories in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can find hundreds of stories about what RPCVs with your same interests or from your Country of Service are doing today. If you have a web site, support the "Peace Corps Library" and link to it today.

Top Stories and Breaking News PCOL Magazine Peace Corps Library RPCV Directory Sign Up

Special Events for RPCVs Date: July 13 2005 No: 683 Special Events for RPCVs
Join the NPCA in DC for Advocacy Day on July 28
NPCA to hold Virtual Leaders Forum on July 29
RPCV's "Taking the Early Bus" at Cal State until Aug 15
"Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" in NY thru Sept 30
See RPCV Musical "Doing Good" in CA through Sept
RPCV Film Festival in DC in October

July 17, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: July 17 2005 No: 690 July 17, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
C. Payne Lucas writes "Can we win the war on HIV/Aids?" 11 July
Director Vasquez hints at expansion in Bangladesh 17 July
Why didn't I spend my life helping others? 17 July
John Beasley returns to the islands of Micronesia 17 July
Jennifer Field to study glacier melting 17 July
Tucker McCravy works with Serendib in Sri Lanka 17 July
David Vick writes "Waging civilized warfare" 16 July
Tom Petri says Nelson helped to promote civility 16 July
Peace Corps Director Visits Volunteers in Mongolia 15 July
John Bridgeland writes "An example for Boomers" 15 July
Robert Blackwill says India and US have a great future 15 July
Peace Corps debuts new internet recruitment tool 14 July
Eight New Country Directors Appointed 13 July
Shelton Johnson Honored for Buffalo Soldier program 13 July
Bill Lorenz leads trek for Sudanese refugees 12 July
Emilie Pryor says Peace Corps ignores Lariam problems 12 July
DDN is Award Finalist for reporting on PC Safety 11 July
Randy Lewis to hire 200 people with cognitive disabilities 10 July
Maryland needs people like Tom Lewis 10 July
Dan DeWayne puts on music festival 10 July

July 9, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: July 9 2005 No: 675 July 9, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Mike Honda says Democratic Party in paradigm shift 6 July
Peace Corps Suspends Program in Gabon 8 July
Thomas Tighe says Thailand is faring better 8 July
Michael Parmly appointed top diplomat in Cuba 7 July
Paul Timmreck got his start trailing garbage trucks 7 July
Shays says London explosions should be wakeup call 7 July
Tom Murphy says: Be Vigilant, But Not Afraid 7 July
Gov. Doyle saddened and outraged by London Attacks 7 July
RPCV Films organizing Film Festival 6 July
Terez Rose writes Aid for Africa Will the G8 Help? 6 July
Carl Youngberg takes ballet to Honduras 6 July
Kafatia faces a mandatory eight years in prison 6 July
Bill Moyers says LBJ hated FOIA law 6 July
Andy and Trudy Anderson work with The Hunger Project 5 July
Thomas A. Dine deplores the attack against reporter 5 July
Mime Troupe tackles history, politics and the World Bank 4 July
Francis Mandanici says investigation could lead to impeachment 4 July
Beth Bedinotti says motherhood is "toughest job" 1 July
Director Vasquez Visits Volunteers in Eastern Caribbean 1 July

July 8, 2005: PC suspends program in Gabon Date: July 10 2005 No: 679 July 8, 2005: PC suspends program in Gabon
Peace Corps announced the suspension of the program in Gabon citing the high cost of the program. In addition, a 2003 Inspector General report documented safety and security costs of $1 million that would be necessary to keep the program operating successfully. Background: In 1998 Peace Corps Volunteer Karen Phillips was was found murdered in the weeds about 100 yards from her home in Oyem, Gabon. Her killer has never been brought to justice.

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Moldova; Iraq; Service


Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.