November 11, 2007
As the veterans of World War II pass too quickly into history, their ranks are being replaced by a new “greatest generation.” The war on terrorism is creating veterans at a rate not seen in decades.
Yet the military is much smaller now than during World War II, leading some analysts to posit that a rift exists between soldiers and citizens and that those making sacrifices on the battle front are disconnected from the society whose freedoms they defend. The American people are oblivious to the war, they claim, as well as to the men and women who are fighting it. Some have even suggested that the only way to close the gap is to return to conscription.
But these observers of the social scene have never served in Iraq.
Those of us overseas know that “support the troops” is more than a slogan. Here we are besieged by what my master sergeant calls “paper love,” the cards, letters, posters and other gestures of support sent by people across America. The paper love is often accompanied by packages of snacks and comfort items. Some mail comes from family members, but even more is sent by private citizens and troop support organizations. The war has inspired a remarkable level of civic involvement that goes largely unnoticed — except by those of us in the field or recovering stateside.
Read the whole thing, and note the links that will let you help, if you like. And contrast it to Hollywood’s response. Or, as the article does, with the much lower level of support in Britain, something I’ve observed myself
UPDATE: Heh. And a reader from North Dakota emails:
Re your Armistice Day post headlined, “Thanks for the troops,” I was wondering if your readership has suggestions on how we Americans could best show support for the soldiers who are serving in Iraq who are notAmericans.
I do my small bit to show support for our folks (sending letters,cards, DVDs, books etc.) Reading your post and the Washington Postarticle you linked made me think, I should also try to do something for the soldiers from other nations who are fighting the fascists and terrorists in Iraq. Maybe other readers had the same thought.
I will do some research on this myself, but I was thinking some of your readers may be able to provide information on showing support for other nations’ troops more quickly and comprehensively.
Several other readers had similar questions. I don’t know. Any suggestions? (Bumped to top).