Guest Commentary: Send soldiers an old-fashioned letterTwo of my dear friends have children serving our country.
By: Deborah J. Anderson, Two Harbors, Lake County News Chronicle
Two of my dear friends have children serving our country.
One of those is a daughter who is serving in Bahrain. She has a young son and a daughter who turned 4 the very day she deployed. KC is in the Navy and, through Facebook, we “chat” a few times a week. Sometimes it is just a “Do you know if my mom is working today or at home? I really need to talk to her.”
So I get on the phone, find her mom and tell her to go to Facebook, right now, to “chat” with her daughter. This last week KC told me how great it is to email and Facebook with her family and the computer to see her children “live,“ but what she really misses are letters, real words written on real paper. The stuff you can hold in your hand and see real handwriting.
So I sat down and wrote KC a letter in my own writing on real stationery. I told her my thoughts on letter writing to our soldiers and service people serving our country.
It started a few years ago when another very dear friend lost her mother. A couple of us friends were helping her clean out her parents home and we came across a box of letters that her parents had written back and forth to each other when her dad was in Europe during World War II. They were wrapped with ribbons, just like you see in the movies. It made me think of those letter writing times.
When those soldiers were so far from home, the letters took weeks to reach them and they were each like a gift when received. They contained rosy words of love and happy things happening at home.
They were treasured. Letter writing was an art.
When I married in 1972, my mother, grandmother and I exchanged letters every week. I remember the feeling when I opened the mailbox and there was a letter from one of them in it. You didn’t even have to read the return address, you knew by the style of writing who it was from.
Slowly, things changed.
Long-distance calling became less expensive, so we would call every once in awhile, no letter that week. Then postage stamps started to increase in price, making the phone call more frequent.
Enter the home computer, email and social networking sites. It is so easy now to just fire off a couple of lines real quick several times a day. Think of that soldier 6,000 miles from home getting a frustrating email early in the a.m., before he goes out on his detail, telling him the car has a flat and the dishwasher is on the fritz.
What can he do about it? Think about it. Why frustrate him or her with a trivial problem here when there is nothing they can do about it but worry? Do they really need any more stress than just that of being away from home, their family and love ones?
I think back in the days when letters took more time to get to our loved ones. They contained more flowery stuff and not the trivial things that frustrate us here. I think it is better for those away from home not to have to worry about the “little” things here in real time.
Have things gone a little backwards in our communication skills?
When we write a real letter, we use real words spelled correctly and completely and no acronyms that we sometimes can’t even figure out. So take a few minutes and write a letter to someone you know is serving our country and a long way from home. Times have changed, but they still look for that letter in the mail.
Don’t stop the emails, just add a letter. And don’t forget to thank all those who serve so we can enjoy the freedoms we do.