10 November 2005

Across Generations And Continents, One Message

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
09 November 2005
Pg. B9

Across Generations And Continents, One Message: Support The Troops
By Bob Dole and Lonnie Moore

The two of us were born more than 50 years and nearly 160 miles apart. But we are connected to each other - and to our fellow Americans - in ways that transcend age and geography. Both of us are Army veterans, born and raised in Kansas. And both of us nearly lost our lives on the battlefield. We were wounded near Castel dAiano, Italy on April 14th, 1945, and in Ramadi, Iraq, on April 6th, 2004. We were struck down by Italian bullets and Iraqi rocket propelled grenades.

These connections of military experience, circumstance and history, are eternally meaningful for the two of us and for millions of other veterans. On this Veterans Day, when we honor our brothers in arms, we also pay tribute to Americans on the home front, to the enduring power of their letters and their packages and to the transcendent grace of their gratitude and prayers. Support the troops.

It is a noble idea, and a long-standing American tradition. At its simplest, it means getting a letter from home. In World War II, letters that arrived in a week were considered speedy. Today anyone can go on-line to http:www.americasupportsyou.mil to send a letter to a soldier instantly. That Web site, created by the Department of Defense, links Americans who are doing something to support the troops, amplifying the impact of their efforts. In military lingo, its a force multiplier for those on the home front.

Few things were more disheartening for a soldier in World War II than to go to mail call every day and come back empty-handed. In Iraq today, even soldiers without families back home get boxes of letters from Americans in every corner of the country. In the lonely, stressful nights of war, notes from complete strangers are a connection to home, a reminder to our military that their service means something. Back in World War II, we were lucky to get goodie packages filled with sunflower seeds, candy, oranges, or even shoes. They had been bought by parents and neighbors with their own food coupons, or with nickels and dimes collected in cigar boxes on drug store counters. Today an America Supports You member organization like St. Louis-based A Soldier's Wish List (www.asoldierswishlist.org) sends soldiers cookies, DVDs, phone cards, video games and even toothbrushes. In the sober context of war, even the smallest token of care and concern means so much.

Both of us had to recover from life-altering injuries. We know personally that recovery and rehabilitation are as much emotional challenges as physical ones. The extraordinary kindness of ordinary Americans reminded us that despite the damage done to our bodies, we were still whole people whose sacrifice mattered. We share an even deeper connection with all of you who let us know -- then and now -- that you support the troops. That's as true today as it was 50 years ago. And just as necessary.

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole was a second lieutenant in the Army's 10th Mountain Division during World War II. Wichita native and retired Army Capt. Lonnie Moore fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom with the First Infantry Division. He now works outside of Washington, D.C.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!
iopBlogs.com, The World's Blog Aggregator Blogwise - blog directory eXTReMe Tracker