This week I wanted to showcase a special group in the Friday Good News segment.
We often hear of the Antiwar rallies, the college campus confrontations with Military recruiters, and the lack of support for our Men and Women in the Armed Forces.
We all know the face of protest…
Today, I would like to point out the faces of support.
The first group is one near and dear to me
I stumbled into Books For Soldiers when David was in Iraq his first go-around. This group of supporters works diligently to fulfill special requests made by the Troops.
They go above and beyond what is asked of them. Organizing special drives for books and DVDs. The members have made lasting friends with their adopted Soldiers. (I should add that all Branches of the Military are adopted.)
Not only do they provide a valuable service to the active duty Troops, they also provide a support network for the family at home. Their words of comfort and support got this Mom thru her son’s first deployment with only minimal meltdown.
Books For Soldiers feels much like an Internet family, and the Troops they adopt daily become their Sons and Daughters, Brothers and Sisters.
The next group I would like to showcase is AnySoldier.
Take the time to read the section titled “Success Stories” if you want to know a portion of the good they are doing. It is such an easy way to support our men and women.
And a group that is very new to me is Soldiers Angels.
I have met several Soldier’s Angels over the past year. Not sure what to say about these women, except they truly are ANGELS! The Soldier that is adopted by an Angel is a very lucky individual. The love and care, that the Soldier is blessed with, is amazing.
In line with the Soldier’s Angels is the Soldier’s Angels Germany. As the official Soldiers’ Angels organization in Germany, their mission is to support wounded and ill coalition troops being treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
Nellie, a special Angel in Germany, makes an extra effort to see that adopted Soldiers receive special care. A big hug goes your way.
And one more group I want to showcase… (there are so many great supporters) The everday individuals who take a moment to make a soldier feel they are appreciated.
The Lisa’s, the Bobs, the Kathy’s, the Vinces… All people who reach out in their own way. Sending a Card a box of cookies, a postcard or buying a soldier dinner.
Veteran touched by simple but noble deed of fellow man
Some would say that gestures of appreciation among strangers are few and far between.
As we go about our daily lives, it’s often that simple measures of gratitude are overlooked. However, during this recent holiday season, I was fortunate enough to witness an unforeseen gesture of gratitude between strangers that brought my own emotions and sentiments of appreciation to bear.
Allow me to share this appreciation with our community, for I believe this story should be told.
Recently while eating lunch at the Burger King in Coal Township, I was witness to an unforgettable exchange between three local gentlemen.
The scene is this: Two men are sitting at a table eating their lunch. I believe the two gentlemen to be father and son, who I frequently see eating together. The father is the younger brother of an old friend I went to school with. The son is an army veteran, recently returned from Iraq.
The third man approaches the table where the father and son are talking and says:
“There you are! Here, I have something I want to give you. I put this on when you left home a long time ago and I’ve been wearing it every day, waiting for your return and hopefully seeing you one day.” With that, he removed from his wrist a silver bracelet that reads,
“Honoring An American Hero — Army National Guard.”
I recognized this bracelet, because as an old veteran, I too have one. There are many like it, but this particular bracelet was not for possession, but rather a token, a token of appreciation.
To this, instant sentiment and emotions donned over me. I couldn’t help but be entranced by this heartfelt exchange. This gesture of gratitude was immeasurable.
The father and son sat in silence for some time. The son appeared to stare at the bracelet, holding it as if it were a bar of gold. The father’s eyes becoming tearful until finally he held his hands to his face, silently crying. The son, whose eyes also appeared tearful, could only look up at the gentleman and bite his lip, silently nodding in quiet acknowledgement of this unforeseen act.
Time seemed to slow itself in the following moments. The gentleman found a table not far from the two and sat down to eat his lunch. Father and son exchanged glances and softly cried.
After a minute or so, the young soldier, with emotions in his face, looked over at the gentleman. The gentleman gave him a soft nod, a sincere blink of the eyes and a “thumbs-up” gesture.
The soldier, as if trying to find the words to express his emotions, paused and then returned a slow and sincere nod.
Rising and walking over toward the gentleman, the soldier simply placed his hand on the man’s shoulder, said a few words then departed. As he walked away, I could see the tears running down the soldier’s face.
A wide array of feelings swept over me, as I was quick to wipe my swollen eyes.
This true story, I wish to share with you, because it speaks of my appreciation for the deeds of our “better nature.” It is now, today, and always the season to embrace the acts of kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity that surround us in our community.
The kindheartedness and character of this gentleman, who is a retired teacher from Shamokin, will forever be etched in the greater journals of humanity.
I am proud of my fellow man, my spirit touched by this noble deed. He remembers.
The Good News surrounds us daily. I did not have to look far to find support. I do not have to ask friends and family twice, when I have a soldier who needs to be cheered up. The people here at home do support our men and women in the War on Terror! The just choose not to show their support in the same manner as the protesters.