To a Soldier in Harm’s Way · 2 May 2008

I have been wondering how I can personally affect the life of a soldier who has been put in harm’s way. I suppose that I could put a sticker on my car or house declaring, “We support our troops.” I could fly my flag more often – on my house or on my lapel. Or I could pray more often than just when I read an article in the newspaper or see images on TV about fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan or other places where United States troops are deployed. I suppose that I could even forward those emails which have great messages about our troops but probably contain “tracking devices” embedded in them. However, I think that the best way for me to make any difference in a soldier’s life is to write him or her a letter.

I am sure that people with personal ties to soldiers have already been writing emails and sending letters to those loved ones in uniform. I know that I wrote letters when my Uncle Don was in Vietnam. I was a youngster and apparently, I asked him how the Germans were doing. All I knew about war then was a little bit about what happened in World War II. I do not know if he still has those letters and chuckles as he rereads them but I do remember him laughing about the letters when he got back from Vietnam. I guess that my letters let him know that somebody was thinking about and praying for him. Just like the letters and emails to those in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places around the globe let the soldiers know that somebody is thinking about and praying for them.

Like my uncle, most soldiers have strong ties to home and have a great support system both while they are away and when they come home. But what about those who do not get any letters or emails from friends or family? What about those soldiers who are all alone?

I am going to write a letter to those soldiers who are without a great support system. It will go something like this:

To a soldier in harm’s way:
     I do not know you, but I want you to know that I am thinking about and praying for you. Thank you for taking and living up to your oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies.” Thank you for doing a job that must be done. Thank you for the sacrifices you have made.
     I hope that this letter gives you hope and encouragement while you are away. I hope that it lets you know that there are those who support you even though they may not know you.
     I hope that you will write back when you have the chance. Thank you again for serving.

Michael T. Miyoshi

I will simply address this letter to: A Soldier. I will send it to Iraq or Afghanistan or some other place where our fighting men and women are deployed. And I will trust the civilian and military postmasters, The American Red Cross, and/or The USO to get the letter into the hands of a soldier who does not get letters from home.

I really do invite any soldier who gets my letter or sees this column to correspond with me. However, the real impact of such a letter would really be felt if many people sent letters to soldiers that they do not know. I can imagine students and classes and schools and church congregations and civic groups sending letters to soldiers that they do not know. I can imagine so many people sending letters that every soldier gets a letter at mail call.

I know that my column currently does not have a large enough audience to get every deployed soldier a letter from home. But if a few more soldiers know that people are thinking and praying for them because a few more people write a few more letters, that is a good thing. I know that I am only one person but I can do something to show support for the troops. Even if it is just writing a letter. Or a column.

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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