Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Any Canadian Soldier

Another shipment of Canadian soldiers left Fredericton airport tonight, on their way to Kabul, Afghanistan.

You may be familiar with Operation Dear Abby, which (used to) allow individual citizens to send cards, letters and gift packages to "Any US Soldier" overseas. The bottom line was that the poor bastard who didn't have anyone back home to send him or her expressions of concern would know that some-anonymous-one, somewhere, cared (at least in the abstract) if he lived or died, and had naively tried to make his day just a little bit brighter. And that matters, I think, when you're far from home and in misery and danger.

Well, Canada also had a program similar to Operation Dear Abby. Unfortunately, the world being the strange and twisted place it is these days, neither the US nor the Canadian military can deliver sealed mail to "Any Soldier" anymore. Fears of "mail tampering" (read: anthrax and other nasty, dark, symptoms of dark times) have nixed the opportunity for us to exercise the small human gesture of putting a few words on a card, or a few Kit Kat bars and beef jerky and Wet Ones and air fresheners and soap and toothpaste and ziploc bags and a note and some paperback novels into a box, and sending them to some human doing time thousands of miles away from home in our name.

(There are private groups delivering packages to US soldiers. Since I'm not familiar with them personally, I am not going to link to them and indirectly vouch for them. A google search on 'care packages soldiers in [country name]' should be a good start for those interested in doing their own investigations.)

The Canadian military will, however, deliver unsealed postcards. And while both militaries have websites where you can send e-messages to Canadian and American soldiers, there's just something about getting a tangible piece of home at mail call that you know has gotta mean more than an anonymous email.

To send a genuine paper postcard to Any Canadian Soldier overseas

They're our brothers and sisters, sons and husbands, wives and moms and uncles and aunts and cousins and second-cousins. They're our high school sweethearts, our dads and nieces and nephews, and some of them aren't much any of the above and don't get a package of stale cookies or a badly-rendered drawing of Puddles the new puppy or a greeting card in the mail. For some of them it was a kind of blindly noble choice, a way out for the guys who were born into bad circumstances and didn't have many choices except they knew they didn't want to end up jail or dead, the guys who don't get the letter at mail call. Wouldn't hurt to take a few minutes to let them know that regardless of our politics at home, we are all on their side.



Anonymous Carl said...

I'm going to be sending a few hundred books to GI's using givebooks.us. Not specific to Canada, of course.

6:34 p.m.  

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