Feb 15, 2007

Young teen challenges people to support the troops with more than a bumper sticker

This letter appeared in the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus today from a young man I know very well. I also know his family. He has a healthy respect for the military, and he’s a member of the Livingston Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol here in Howell.

In response to the Rev. Richard Alberta's comments on Cpl. Mark Kidd's sentiments (article, "Community grieving for fallen Marine," Jan. 28):
Kids carrying cardboard boxes full of scrap rubber sent to the local collection center by their parents who are too busy working their victory gardens and giving their empty cans to their neighborhood Boy Scout to do it themselves. This is what supporting the troops meant back over 60 years ago, a stark contrast to today where people buy a sticker and put it on the back of their car.
Sure, some churches and schools organize small drives to support our troops, but is it enough? What we need are city-wide drives that show the troops that, whether we support the war or not, we still stand behind our troops all the way.
During World War II, people at the home front showed support and adoration to the troops. In Vietnam, people actually showed dislike and shunned the troops. Now, in 2007, people just show indifference! If the troops don't realize that people really do care then the war will already be lost. Think about it!
In World War II, we actively backed the troops and won despite staggering losses that would have (and did) make many other armies retreat so fast they were falling over one another. When people actively showed their dislike to the soldiers in Vietnam, my uncle told me a long time ago, "When I got off the plane, I walked toward the car waiting for me when I exited the terminal, and stepped out onto the street, I had food thrown at me." We pulled out. The first war that people showed dislike to the troops was also the first war we lost.
As for Iraq, well, things aren't looking too good. If morale is low, 21,000 troops aren't going to have as much as an impact as one would hope. So, think about your own involvement. How active are you? Has anyone reading this done anything to help the troops with in the last month? How about the last two months? If not, we have a problem, and I have just the remedy. Send a letter to a soldier at www.amillionthanks.org. Or sponsor a care package by going to www.usocares.org, or donate your old or used cell phones at www. cellphonesforsoldiers.com. You can also go to www.letssaythanks. com to send a postcard to a soldier for free!
All these suggestions are very easy and can make a huge difference in the day of a soldier. So I want every single person reading this article to go to the nearest computer as soon as possible and do one of the above things. I also challenge you to research other ways you can help because the soldiers can't win this war alone — they need us to back them up.

Brian David Bigelow, 13


Supporting the troops also means ensuring the civilian leadership only makes judicious use of the troops with a clear mission and benchmarks for success, and if they place them in harm’s ways they are properly equipped and trained. And when they come home we must keep our promise to them and ensure they are taken care of.

None of that is happening in Iraq. One thing is for sure, supporting the troops means much more than putting a bumper sticker on your car, waving the flag or tying a yellow ribbon made in China you bought at Wal-Mart on a tree.

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