Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Safe Thoughts and Godspeed for Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group

More than 5,500 sailors and Marines deployed today from San Diego for a 6-9 month tour as part of the Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group. As a Navy wife, it's always hard for me to read these stories or watch videos of the families saying their goodbyes. And with the holidays just around the corner, it's that much harder.

I don't like doing political rants because that's not my style. I'll leave the politics to the Mister. Instead, I would like to focus on the support of the troops and their families. It doesn't matter what your believes are on war or the military. We are the biggest and most powerful nation in the world and there are lots of reasons why we are. And by being so, needing a strong military is just as important as cities needing the police officers and firefighters. Supporting the troops and their families does not mean you're a warmonger. They are not the ones calling for war, they are the ones who are willing to protect what this great country stands for, our way of life, our freedom. And I thank God for them. But let's not focus on the politics in this post, okay? Oh, and to set the record straight, these have been my views before I became a Navy wife.

We hear some about supporting the troops but I don't think we hear enough about the families and the sacrifices they make. If you don't have anyone in your family that is (was) in the military or know someone close that is (was), then you don't know the extent of the sacrifices military families make. I have been very lucky that I have not had to make much sacrifices as many of these families. So at the very least, I'd like to help increase awareness for those who do.

Military families are different. It's not like having a dad that travels all the time for business. Dad doesn't consciously put his body in harm's way for our Country every time he goes on a business trip. And after a few days or so, he returns home. It's not like having both parents work all day and only getting to see them for dinner. Our troops are deployed for 6-8 months at a time. And if called for, their deployment can be extended. That means families don't see each other for months on end, sometimes even up to year at a time. Active service men and women and their families sacrifice much.

So here is a list of things that we can do to help support the troops and their families that goes beyond buying a yellow ribbon magnet or sticker that you slap on your car. You can click on the names of the organizations to get to their webpages.

Support the Troops

Operation USO Care Package: With the holidays just around the corner, this program will provide some much needed holiday spirit to our troops overseas. Please note that sponsors will need to sponsor a specific member due to the heightened security measures.

AnySoldier.com: A nonprofit organization group started by the Horns family which all started when they were sending care packages to their son, Sergeant Brian Horn, when he was in Iraq. Again, please ready the sections on How, What and Where to Send.

DOD Community Relations (www.ourmilitary.org): Check here to learn about our military and our military families who contribute to our communities.The site also features stories of how our communities, non-profit organizations, individuals and corporations support our military, and provides information about those organizations that provide such critical support.

Support the Families

Armed Forces YMCA: ASYMCA works with the DoD to provide support for military service members and their families with specific focus on the junior-enlisted men and women and their families. Just think, many of our service members are no more than 18 years of age. Donations help fund programs such as childcare, hospital assistance, spouse support services, food services, computer training classes, health and wellness services, and holiday meals, among many others.

Military Family Support: Numerous links to sites providing support to military families. I'm sure you can find one (or more) to support here.

Since there are many young families that struggle to make ends meet, helping with the upcoming Christmas holiday for the kids may be a good one. If you're interested, Toys for the Troops Kids is one organization that focuses on the kids.

NetPets Military Pets Foster Project: Helping to connect service members and temporary foster care homes for their pets. Pets are part of the family too, let's not forget them.

If you've read through this entire post, thank you. If you've clicked on at least one link, that's a start. If you're thinking about being a sponsor or donating to one of these organizations, I send cyber hugs to you and encourage you to take the next step. If you've actually become a sponsor or took action to support our troops and families, I send you aloha kisses and I'm sure your name is permanently on Santa Claus' nice list. And know that your karma just increased by a couple of positive points.

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