Simple Ways To Support Our Troops

Are you looking for simple yet meaningful ways to support our troops? Below are 4 low cost ways to do just that.

Sending Gift Cards
Sending Care Packages
Sending Calling Cards
Being A Pen Pal

Sending Gift Cards - You could also show your support by sending gift cards.

Sending Care Packages - If you choose to support our troops by sending care packages, be sure you know what to put in them. Iraq is an extremely hot country so don't send anything that will melt (i.e. chocolate). Soldiers have access to just about all the cheap snacks they could ever want at the Post Exchange.

So what could you put in the care packages? Think entertainment. Soldiers love watching movies and playing video games in their off time. In most circumstances a Soldier would be delighted to receive a new release movie as opposed to melted candy, foot powder, etc. Movies are also supplied at the Post Exchange but the selection is often limited.

Sending Calling Cards - You could also show your support by sending quality phone cards. The calling cards offered to our troops often times have hidden fees. This means Soldiers may pay for a four hundred minute phone card but their minutes get cut in half by hidden charges. Find a quality phone card to send to a Soldier and he or she would be extremely grateful.

Being A Pen Pal - Another great way to support our troops is to become a pen pal. As much as care packages are appreciated, it is only logical to conclude that a personal note that you took the time to write from your heart would be equally (if not more) treasured.

A quick internet search led to to Check them out or conduct your own search to find Soldiers wanting pen pals.

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Family Life and the US Military

Life in the Armed Forces is not for the faint hearted. This goes double for their spouses and children.

There are many special challenges for dependents of service members. One of the first are periodic moves to different locations. Uprooting a life with friends and known conditions is at best harrowing even if everything goes correctly. When something goes wrong, such as belongings that show up late, it can get downright horrific.

Another special challenge is the community standard. Living on post exposes everyone to the needs and requirements of the service. While it is possible to annoy neighbors in a community by letting the grass grow too high, in a military community that is a punishable offense.

Another of the challenges to be overcome is relative isolation. While military bases have many amenities, this is not the same as having everything you might desire or need, and typically the area immediately around a military base isn’t family friendly.

The most harrowing issue is of course deployment. Staying behind while the service member is sent overseas, possible to a war zone is one of the hardest tasks a family will ever face. While military units will try to prepare both the service member and dependents, this is never really enough.

The ways to combat this vary from family to family, but all units will have some sort of family association that should provide help. From a welcome committee which can provide you with maps and tell you where necessities can be found to a support group which can help each other out with needs or a shoulder to cry on during deployments. Having other families who can show up and help deal with the burdens when they grow overwhelming can be a lifesaver. Helping others in need can also provide a needed lift for you.

Dependants will quickly learn to have their ID handy. This will be required for services like the commissary. The actions and appearances of dependents will effect the promotion and progression of their service member. Military posts are much like small towns, with enough people around to make secrets difficult to keep. There is an old saying that anyone can make colonel, but it takes a wife to make a general. This emphasizes the importance a family can have on a career.

Military posts will normally have a commissary of some sort where you can purchase groceries, other stores and franchises to allow some semblance of normal life, a post laundry, a library and a school or schools. Often there will be neighborhood playgrounds.

Sometimes there are other facilities, such as workshops where service members and dependants can perform automotive maintenance, woodworking or other tasks.

There are visitor’s centers which can point you towards the various features of the post. Another option is to search online. Many posts will have websites which discuss the post and locale, and there are many blogs where dependents discuss life around the service and how to deal with it.

For more information on the US military please check out the author's site at

Drunk Driving Vs. The War In Iraq

There’s a really popular trend right now of bombarding Pres. Bush with criticisms for a lot of reasons, but particularly for the current conflict in Iraq. I can’t attest that his reasons for entry were flawless or that we “should” or “should not” be there (that’s so grey, in spite of what a lot of hard-headed and self-important protestors think). Basically, I feel that I, along with most Americans (both for and against the war) are not perfectly informed and therefore, I have a hard time picking sides, though I do dislike the whiney liberal media. Anyway, on to my point.

In listening to the news, we are quick to hear about the rising death toll in Iraq. Interestingly enough, though, it still loses out to the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving in the United States by a ratio of about 17 to 1 (according to MADD and DoD Reports, comparing fatalities of 2005 to both causes). 17 to 1. 17 to 1. That’s in favor of drunk driving. There aren’t 17 reports against drunk driving for every report of some legislator fighting Bush’s Iraq policy. In fact, I’d wager that the number is quite inverse.

There are some big differences, too. Those who serve in our military do so with a commitment to laying their life on the line in the defense of our nation. Those killed by drunk driving accidents are often on their way home from the store, taking kids to a school play, going to see a movie, etc. They never chose to have their life unnecessarily endangered. How is that fair?

So what I don’t get is why we can spend so much energy slamming Bush for his foreign policy while we let 15 more people die here for every one that loses a life in Iraq and we do relatively nothing about it. Why? I guess it’s a weak and easy strategy to heave blame on someone else so we don’t have to feel guilt for our own misdeeds. Plus, if we really cracked down on alcohol misuse, we wouldn’t have those hilarious commercials. I mean, talking frogs. That’s good stuff. That’s worth 16,000 citizens a year.

Lewis originally posted this article on his blog at, where he posts fairly regularly.

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