Merry Christmas, Staff Sergeant

I completely and bitterly oppose the war in Iraq.

I completely and warmly admire and respect the soldiers who serve there.

A former coworker’s son is currently leading a platoon of 30 guys in Iraq. She’s a single mom, and he’s her only child. She hasn’t seen him in, I think, nearly two years; they communicate whenever possible by email. This soldier’s mom opposes the war but, needless to say, supports any and all efforts to lend comfort and support to those who serve. She’s taken it upon herself to organize regular mailings of snacks, magazines, and other goodies to her son’s platoon members, some of whom receive no mail otherwise.

With Christmas approaching, she learned that some of the soldiers also receive no gifts, cards, or any other recognition of the holiday. And, of course, it’s a difficult day for the entire platoon, so far from home and family. So, she asked her friends to consider providing a Christmas box for a platoon member, to ensure that all the guys would experience some holiday cheer.

In the best and most magical of all worlds, I’d love to be able to transport the entire platoon here to my house and cook them Christmas dinner. I can’t begin to describe how much I’d enjoy having a house full of big, hungry guys who haven’t had home-cooked food in many months — I do so love to provide people with happiness and support in the form of food. Transport technology not being up to speed yet, I was delighted to temporarily adopt a soldier for the Christmas mailing. He’s 28, a Staff Sergeant, and the platoon artillery expert. That’s all I know.

My friend asked that we include for each soldier a $10 iTunes card, a pocket knife, a 6″ Mag flashlight, snacks, and a personal gift from us. The US Postal Service provides flat-rate boxes that you can stuff with whatever will fit and mail in the US or to soldiers for $8.95. The box measured 13.625″ x 11.875″ x 3.375. Fortunately I love to shop and to hunt for items that meet a specific purpose, and I’m also a past master at fitting a whole lot into a small space thanks to years of filling Christmas stockings. I had a wonderful time shopping for my soldier and then putting together the packing puzzle. When my box was full, it weighed 9-1/2 pounds. Here’s what was in it:

https://i2.wp.com/farm3.static.flickr.com/2181/2033659481_2b50f92613.jpg

(Actually, not all the items from all the snack boxes at the back fit, but I managed to squeeze in some of each.)

I also got a funny Christmas card, printed out some pictures of my family and our pets, and wrote the Staff Sergeant about who we are and where we live. I tried to express to him our respect and appreciation for all he’s doing. I hope he’ll write back.

Too many soldiers in Iraq and other places receive no mail and will get nothing for Christmas. If you know someone serving in harm’s way, you may be able to get the name of someone you could mail to, and thereby make a big difference in that soldier’s life. Or, you can go to sites like AnySoldier.com and TreatAnySoldier.com to find soldiers who need our support; the sites describe in detail what the soldiers want and need, and how/when/where you can send care packages and letters.

Merry Christmas, Staff Sergeant. Stay safe. I hope you and your comrades come home soon.

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5 responses to “Merry Christmas, Staff Sergeant

  1. I am so glad you did this. We honor the individuals who serve not those who sent them there.

  2. Thanks for the tip! I picked out a contact person at anysoldier.com, and I’ve had a great time gathering stuff for the small group she represents.

  3. Jo Ann, that’s wonderful! You’ll help give multiple people a brighter holiday. 🙂

  4. Nice gesture, tiffany – we have just had a change of government in Australia and have started to arrange for our troops to come home from Iraq.

  5. At my former university, it was recently brought to the attention of faculty and staff that female soldiers don’t even have things as simple and small as feminine hygiene products.

    As a result, my friend (currently a staff member) rounded up a bunch of our friends and started Tampons 4 Everyone where we all purchased massive boxes of feminine hygiene products and shipped them over.

    As sad as the whole war is and that Christmas is coming up with many soldiers not getting much, if anything, I think that it is deplorable that females aren’t even given basic necessities.

    But then, you know, why acknowledge that women sometimes do have special needs? They’re only protecting our country.

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