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Virtual Card Says Thanks to Men and Women in Uniform

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2002 – May is National Military Appreciation Month each year. In 2002, with Americans in combat in Afghanistan and positioned to face terrorists around the world, it is even more apt to recognize the sacrifices American service members make for freedom.

A number of events and activities are planned across the country for citizens to show their appreciation to service members. There will also be a way to do that in cyberspace.

Folks who wish to show their appreciation may sign "America's Thank You Note" to the men and women serving in the military. "There are a lot of reasons to be appreciative of the military. This year, of course, there's even more," said David Jackson, editor of DefendAmerica.gov, a U.S. government Web site dedicated to reporting news about the global war against terrorism.

The Thank You Note exists in cyberspace. Anyone with a computer can "sign" the card by going to http://www.defendamerica.gov/ and following the instructions there. Visitors can type in a name, hometown and state and then click on a button to submit the greeting. When they do that, a message thanks them and adds, "Remember, it doesn't have to be Military Appreciation Month to thank a service member."

Persons without computers can enter DefendAmerica.gov at computer terminals in public libraries or other sites. One example of ways to expand the ability of Americans to thank service members for their sacrifices will be on display May 9-12 at Public Service Recognition Week activities on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The department will set up a kiosk so people can visit the Web site and send their good wishes.

"We hope others will take this idea and run with it," said Allison Barber, special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. "My experience is that when we launch an initiative, people around the country take it and make it bigger and better than what we could even hope for."

She suggests that companies, local governments, installations, schools and service organizations may want to link to the Thank You Card from their own Web sites.

America's Thank You Note will be available through May 31. The names will be gathered and presented to the military at the end of the month, officials said.

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