Thursday, April 14, 2005

Not so far away anymore.

Being a Soldiers' Angel means that I pay a lot more attention to the news than I used to. The events in Iraq are no longer something happening "over there;" every event now has the possibility of affecting someone that I write to and email with. The recent car bombings, for example, happened very close to a FOB (forward operating base) that is currently home to a couple of "my guys." Our soldiers out there have reported feelings the tremors up to a quarter mile away; the blasts, they said, made their "insides shake."

Don't get me wrong; I love being an Angel and it's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Sometimes, though, it's hard. It can be very emotionally draining. But we keep sending those letters and cards and care packages, we keep giving a huge piece of our hearts, because they need us. They're the ones living through this each and every day. As one of my guys said, "This war won't be over until I can leave the base without being shot at." They tell stories of the attacks and ambushes almost casually; it's just another day at work for them. Sometimes we Angels hear even more details than their spouses and loved ones back home do; they need to vent and talk about what they're seeing and doing over there, and often, they don't want to cause their families any extra worry or alarm. So their Angels often become their sounding board, their therapist, their ear to listen and shoulder to lean on. And it's a badge we wear with honor. Yes, sometimes we cry. We lose sleep. But we keep going, because they do. And they're what it's all about.

So again, regardless of your personal feelings about this war, I ask you to keep these men and women in your thoughts and prayers.


Renee said...

Amen! I cried when I read of the car bombings since MY soldier is in Baghdad and my brother in law is btwn there and Falluja. It's just scary. But shit, how scary is it for THEM?!

It is, next to motherhood, the most rewarding experience of my life. LOL. It's LIKE motherhood. I have such an attachment to my soldier, and I feel that "big sister" thing for her. I feel protective of her, even though she's half the world away and I can't DO anything to protect her. It's kind of a helpless feeling sometimes, but I know, because she tells me all the time, that my letters and care packages help a lot; it's humbling to her to know that someone she's never met could care so much.

It's just so cool. And heartbreaking and chill-giving and awe-inspiring all rolled into one.


Jen: Sara is way against the war and she gets all fired up whenever the subject is broached, but she was over yesterday and I was telling her about being an Angel. She had goosebumps on her arms and said she wished she could afford to do it, cuz while she's against the war, she's certainly in support of the troops. I told her I was gonna check into the letter writing team or writing the wounded or something for her, since she'd like to write but can't afford her own bills, let alone sending care packages. Woo hoo!!

Jen said...

Renee: That's awesome about Sara. And yes, I know Angels who sign up just as members of the LWT. I know they definitely need more writers!

Tell Sara that when I first joined SA I was against the war, too. I'm not necessarily in support of it NOW, but the more soldiers I write to who are so incredibly proud of what they're accomplishing over's hard for me to be against it when THEY'RE so whole heartedly in support of it, and THEY'RE the ones who are over there, you know? They see all the good that is being done, not just the negative aspects we hear about on the news....and I'm proud OF them.

Anna said...

I've never been pro-war but I am pro-people, meaning that I support the people who have been sent over there to fight.

Did you hear that Starbucks REFUSED to send coffee to the soldiers saying it was because they don't support the war?!? It was an actual statement made by the company in the news! I've never really liked Starbucks anyway.

Renee said...

Yay, Anna. I don't think anybody LIKES war... I hate war, but I believe in the reasons behind the war, etc.

I hadn't heard that about Starbucks; how rude! Not that I went there that often anyway since gas station cappuccino is my favorite (and cheaper!), but I certainly won't go there anymore. Bastards.