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As work week resumes, remember our soldiers

July 05, 2005

The last fireworks faded into the night sky over Washington County hours ago and the dishes from family picnics have all been washed, or at least stacked in the sink. The holiday is over and today is just another normal day at work.

Unless, of course, you're a U.S. soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan, where the next explosion you hear won't be the ceremonial firing of a cannon, but the roar of a roadside bomb.

Whatever you think about U.S. foreign policy and the doctrine of pre-emptive war, there are thousands of Americans in those lands who had no hand in shaping those decisions. They need our support, and just as important, so do their families.

Chances are you know someone whose son or daughter is in the armed forces, either stateside or overseas. Every now and then, those people could use a kind word from people they sometimes believe don't care much about the plight of young Americans in hostile territories.

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Every night they watch the news, hoping they will get a glimpse of their child - and that the camera shot isn't of their son or daughter on a stretcher.

Take the time to ask those parents how it's going.

Don't talk politics, even if you believe that the best way to keep our soldiers safe is to bring them home. It just might be unbearable for those parents if they didn't believe that their offspring were fighting for a just and worthy cause.

Do ask them what you can do to help. Maybe it will be just listening as they tell you about how they worry and wonder whether their child will ever come home. In such conversations, lending an ear is more important than anything you can say.

If you'd like to do something for soldiers and don't know one personally, we suggest you might want to seek aid from a group that's been helping for decades - United Services Organizations Inc., more familiar to many as the USO.

For a donation of $25, you can send a personal item and assorted requested items such as pre-paid phone cards, sunscreen, travel-size toiletries and disposable cameras. For more information, visit their Web site at www.usocares.org.

Closer to home, there is the South Washington County Military Support Group, which has worked to send soldiers cards and other treats during the Christmas season.

Contact them through Lynn Jones by calling 301-432-4979 or by mail at P.O. Box 223, Keedysville, MD 21756.

The group collected 38,000 holiday cards in 2004. This year's card drive begins Oct. 1. Be a part of it, for the sake of our soldiers.

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