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Other Ways to Get Behind the Troops

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2001 – With the suspension of the morale-boosting "Operation Dear Abby" and "Any Service Member" mail programs this year, defense officials are proposing other ways Americans can demonstrate their support for the military.

DoD officials suggest supporting the troops "by supporting the communities in which they live." Some ideas include:

o Visit Veterans Administration hospitals and nursing homes, coach children's sports teams, feed the homeless or volunteer for other community outreach programs. Many service members who normally do this volunteer work are now deployed.

o Local government and business officials can request local military members to speak at community events, while encouraging citizens to learn more about America's military.

o Citizens who know military families can offer support by reaching out to those families with loved ones deployed overseas, officials noted in the release.

o Private organizations are developing Web-based means for citizens to show their support for the military.

o Anonymous gifts and letters for overseas service members are no longer accepted, officials said, but people can still contribute to military relief societies (see AFPS news article: "Officials Want Donations Channeled to Legitimate Charities" for more information.)

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