As Operation Iraqi Freedom continues it appears more people are concerned and wondering what they at home can do; how they can become involved and how they can support our many troops.
I am a member of the Soldiers' Angels, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping support our military stationed wherever we raise our country's flag. When I first became involved with Soldiers' Angels, I didn't realize how important to me my participation would become. I simply knew how much I appreciated my freedom, and that once again, our brave men and women were asked to put their lives on the line to defend and protect the freedom and security I so enjoy.
There are so many soldiers, so many families and so many heroes that need our help, and this was a wonderful opportunity for me to take that first step in showing them someone cares, appreciates and honors them. It didn't take long to realize Soldiers' Angels weren't asking all that much; I was free to make choices and become as involved as I wanted. My own journey began with my first adoptee and multiplied from there. I write to them almost every day, and my list of names keeps growing. Although some of my adoptees are of various age groups, the majority are mostly young, 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds, some of them away from home for the first time, lonely, brave, scared and idealistic. They come from small towns, farms and cities - hometowns just like ours - across these great United States, each with their own goals and dreams, many of which may never be realized.
They write letters filled with hope and uncertainty, fear and despair, and unpretentious gratitude. They describe living conditions, the desperately poor children, the lack of schools and medical facilities. There is pride when they write about sharing their supplies and food with Iraqi people. I can almost see the smiles on their faces when they write about some of the children now wearing shoes, instead of newspapers wrapped around their feet. All of this because of their efforts and generous support from United States citizens, like you. They talk about the progress they are making with building roads, hospitals, and schools, but mostly they write about home, getting a card or a letter, seeing their children, the food they miss, and their loved ones. Above all they never fail to mention how grateful they are for the cards, letters and support and prayers. As one soldier wrote, "It's knowing that somebody cares, we're really not forgotten, and you're getting a little piece of home."
I feel I owe these men and women so much more than simply putting a magnet on my car or flying the flag. Yes, I owe them and their families consistent, tangible support from deployment to homecoming and thereafter.
For these reasons I will continue to remain a "Soldiers' Angel." I would like to encourage anyone reading this, who shares these feelings, consider becoming a soldiers' angel which you can do by going to the website www.soldiers'angels.org. Please help support our military men and women!
Loni Johnson, Soldiers' Angels
312 S. Seymour Dr.
Thomson, GA 30824