U.S. troops have been in Iraq since 2001, a nine year span of time. Currently, 50,000 soldiers are stationed to keep peace in dangerous neighborhoods, assuming the responsibility of the Iraqi Army until Iraq establishes its own army. Although the soldiers are assigned non military combat positions, they are still in constant danger. Until a full withdrawal expected to occur by the end of 2011 (agreed in a bilateral security pact), soldiers will remain in Iraq and continue to face the unexpected dangers of devastating bombings.
Clearly, the harsh realities in Iraq deteriorate the hopes of U.S. soldiers who miss their beloved families and friends back home. And their elongated time there only fuels their desires to return to their own country where frequent bombings and shootings are not part of everyday life. Our soldiers risk their lives to keep momentary peace in a foreign country they have no attachment to because they are heroes.
Stephen Oh sympathized with the exhausted U.S. soldiers in Iraq and felt the need to uplift their spirits through an Eagle Scout project. His idea was to encourage students to participate in “Letters to Soldiers,” a program hosted by Operation Gratitude. This is intended to encourage our troops in Iraq to persevere by sending them a barrage of warm, heartfelt, and appreciative letters.
In order to carry out the plan, Stephan has been persuading his fellow Boy Scout members and school peers to take just 10 minutes of their time to write a letter to a heroic soldier who is representing the U.S. in Iraq. In order to reach students, Stephan is using Facebook and PA announcements. This special event will take place on the last Wednesday of November during STEP and students who desire to write the letters should talk to Mrs. Hayes.
Stephan Oh shared, “Letters to Soldiers is about getting people to write meaningful letters to soldiers in Iraq who are in need of love and support. I hope these letters boost the troops’ morale.”
This brilliant idea didn’t just pop into Stephan’s head. Actually, he wants to join the military overseas in his future. In this way, Stephan sympathized with the U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
He explained, “If I were in their positions, I would want to receive letters of support and appreciation too. When I join the army later, I would love if people wrote to me and the other soldiers and encouraged us.”
Thanks to motivated students like Stephan Oh, students have the opportunity of writing and encouraging our troops in Iraq. Even little letters carry hope and gratitude to the soldiers. One soldier wrote to Operation Gratitude, expressing, “Time spent away from loved ones and friends is much easier to manage knowing people are thankful for what we do.” Even if we cannot support the troops overseas by being there physically, we can still show our appreciation through words.