DefendAmerica Web Site Delivers Valentine's Wishes
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2004 With 114,000 service members deployed to Iraq and another 11,000 in Afghanistan supporting the war on terror, Cupid's arrow is going to have to travel a few extra miles this Valentine's Day.
The 4th Infantry Division reported a slight increase in the number of "care packages" arriving for soldiers at its headquarters in Tikrit, Iraq. And division spokesman Lt. Col. Bill McDonald said many soldiers are using the Internet to send flowers and candy to loved ones at home.
The cyber-waves are expected to overflow Feb. 14 with Valentine's Day wishes between deployed troops and their "special some ones."
Already, Valentine message page on the DefendAmerica.mil Web site is brimming with heartwarming messages both to and from deployed troops. Anyone with Internet access can use the site to send best wishes and Valentine's Day messages to the troops.
Some messages, like the one sent by Staff Sgt. Paul Cornett, a deployed soldier in Baghdad, Iraq, are meant for the American public as a whole. "I thank all of you for your support," Cornett wrote. "If it was not for you, we would not be able to do what we do. Our job is nothing out of the ordinary for us. We do what we have to because of you. Thank you. You all are the true heroes."
Some messages address a particular service member, such as Spc. Shane McRoberts, who received love and prayers from "dad and Lori." "Be safe always and know the immense sense of honor you bring to our family," they wrote.
Pfc. Mike Gower's Aunt Barb sent Valentine's wishes, urged her nephew to stay safe and reminded him that she loves him.
Carol and LeRoy Kramer from Wisconsin sent Valentine's Day wishes "to all our troops, but special wishes and thanks" to Company B, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment "and the rest of the 82nd" Airborne Division.
Capt. Scott Greenblatt sent special wishes to 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery, 25th Infantry Division.
Others messages sent through the program push wishes to all deployed military members. "Your efforts in Iraq will help to diminish the overall terrorism in the world, and specifically that which is aimed at America and all that our country stands for," wrote Michelle Zahariades from Palm Desert, Calif. "Hugs and kisses to you on Valentine's Day."
"Your love of America by your service to all Americans is the greatest Valentine of all," wrote another well-wisher. "Thank you all so much. I hope you know how much we love, support and appreciate each of you."
To read more of the messages or send your own to the troops, visit the DefendAmerica Web site and click on the Valentine's Day box.