Sunday, April 08, 2007

Thoughts on Easter Sunday: Building A Bridge

Every week I try to put up messages of appreciation from our troops who are being supported by Soldiers' Angels. It is no surprise, when Angels receive these messages, they are over joyed. Everyone likes to know that their efforts are appreciated. That is, after all, why we do the things we do. Not so we can feel appreciated, but so our men and women serving so far from home know that they are appreciated, that their sacrifice has not gone unnoticed and that we care.

I put up these messages so that people will feel motivated to participate in the many great programs that Soldiers' Angels offers in support of these fine men and women and their families. I think that people need to know that they can and do make a difference.

People often think that they need to be able to dedicate enormous amounts of time or money to move a mountain of morale. This idea of overwhelming need can be daunting to the average citizen and, like any other charitable program, may keep people from participating. People will wonder, "How much do I really make a difference if I am just writing a letter?" "Does toothpaste, shampoo and deoderant really make a difference?"

The truth is, it does matter. It's not about the cost of an item. It's not about whether you give 10 minutes or 10 hours. The way that our support system works is like building a suspension bridge. Every part has a job to do; no part of the bridge works alone; if one part fails, the bridge will still hold; every part, no matter how small or how big, adds strength to the bridge.

Take the two most famous suspension bridges in the United States:

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Brooklyn Bridge, New York

What holds these bridges together? Strong foundations built to withstand tsunami type waves. Steel towers built to withstand gale force winds. The steel trusses beneath the roadway provide stiffening to keep the roadway stable for travel. Finally, thousands of individual cables are bound together to provide support for the millions of tons of people, vehicles and freight that cross it every day over decades. The individual strength of each cable allows the bridge to be flexible, withstanding great forces, always moving to meet the demands placed on it, yet continuously capable of holding up under enormous strain.

Soldiers' Angels is built on a similar model. No one Angel works alone. Without all the Angels, our organization would not be strong enough to support our men and women. We stand on a strong foundation of service to others, the knowledge that liberty only stands because it is defended by the free and the belief in honoring sacrifices made on our behalf for that liberty. The individual abilities and strengths of each Angel, bound together, provides the strength and flexibility needed to maintain support for tens of thousands of serving men and women around the world.

Every new Angel adds to the strength and capabilities of this great organization.

And our men and women appreciate it.

From a platoon sergeant in Afghanistan:

All I can say is "WOW". As you can see by the distribution list, and by no means is that everyone, the list is huge. It has truly been overwhelming at the response of all. It really gives us hope and a purpose for what we are doing. As one of the leaders of the platoon I decided early on that we would post "Thank You" cards and holidays cards, etc. on our break room wall for all to see and read. I told the soldiers today in our meeting that if they ever have a doubt about why they are here or what they are doing just read a few of the cards. We here all know what a great country this is, I am just glad that so many others do as well. We truly are from the greatest country on the face of the Earth. If you don't believe so then visit any other country.

The support for my platoon has been amazing. You all are so kind. Whether it be letters that you sent, Thank You or Easter Cards, Cool or Sand Scarfs, Boxes of Goodies, Boxes of personal hygiene items. No matter how big or how small they are all appreciated the same.

Again, thank you all so much for your kind words, love and support for what we do. We aren't always thought of so graciously.

From a Captain in the 82nd Airborne:

Thank you so much for the generous support you have shown my battery. We recently received 2 boxes of snacks and toys and even peeps! Those are great for guard shift. I passed out all the letters you sent. I think they broke down into 7 per platoon. The guys are competing to see who can get a letter back from you the fastest so expect some personal mail from them. I can tell you, my Paratroopers are routinely surprised by the mail that comes from the people such as yourself whom we have absolutely no affiliation with. Those random acts of kindness boaster our belief that regardless of what is in the paper and on t.v., the American people still believe in us and support us. Without that our job here would be much more difficult.

We are building a bridge between the home front and the front lines with every package and letter that is sent. Across that bridge, love and gratitude flow to and from these wonderful people.

If you are already an Angel, thank you for supporting our men and women serving.

If you would like to find out how you can become part of this organization and support our men and women in uniform, please go to Soldiers' Angels, learn how you too can be a part of the bridge that keeps the soldier on the front line and the people at home connected.

Easter Message:

Luke 6:47-48 - Whosoever cometh to Me, and Heareth MY SAYINGS, and DOETH THEM, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid The Foundation on A ROCK: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon A ROCK.

- May no soldier go unloved