When I launched Operation: We Love Our Soldiers nearly 6 years ago, my first instinct was that of a mother whose son had been deployed to war. I wanted my son, and every son and daughter of our nation to know unequivocally that their service and sacrifices would not go unnoticed, and that we would stand by them in this most difficult time, in any and all ways that we could...that no effort would be spared on their behalf. Who would have imagined that the road to peace and good will toward all man would take us on such a perilous and long journey. Sadly, we continue to search for ways to speak out, reach out, and impact the lives of those amongst us who are so very deserving...our brave, tired and battle weary soldiers!! My fervent wish is that the need for organizations such as mine will no longer be needed in the future.
Since 2003, we have sent thousands upon thousands of care packages, Christmas stockings and letters of support to Iraq and Afghanistan. We have sponsored Giving trees in support of deployed soldiers families, and have co-partnered in numerous endeavors whose purpose has been solely to raise awareness of the need for all citizens to become pro-active on behalf of the many needs that have presented themselves to us during this most turbulent time of war. Regardless of political bent, we can and should all agree that our soldiers have answered this most difficult call to duty, have honored us all with their tireless service, and that in return our loyal support to them is the least we can give.
However, the time has come for this organization to bid a fond farewell, and move our efforts to a different place. We will continue to remain fully engaged in support of the cause we are committed to, but will instead partner with others in those endeavors, and look for ways to make a difference that we could not within the constraints of a non-profit organization.
There are countless ways you can impact not only the life of a soldier, but their families, and our nation as a whole as we attempt to heal the wounds caused by war and it's consequences to us all, whether we have a loved one serving or not. Deployed soldiers continue to need letters written from home and care packages filled with goodies and necessities. Returning soldiers need help assimilating back in to their families and communities. PTSD casualties are mounting, as is the need to boost the VA system and health care facilities whose task is to rise quickly to the challenge to meet the needs of our wounded patriots. We would like to invite you to visit www.fallenheroesmemorial.com whose website has links to many relevant agencies who are doing much to answer the needs of those whose lives have been most devastatingly impacted by war. We also recommend www.uso.org. The USO is a timeless agency that has served our military unlike any other in our history. Who could forget the USO tours during Vietnam and Bob Hope entertaining the troops? They are able more any other group to galvanize the citizenry to service and action on behalf of our uniformed heroes, and I urge you to support their mission.
Finally, how can I thank the countless numbers of you who have donated your time, your money, your effort and your hearts to "We Love Our Soldiers" over these past years? It has been only because of you that a soldier's morale has been boosted, or a soldiers child opened a Christmas gift that otherwise would not have been there, and smiled on Christmas rather than cry, missing their parent that was in harms way...these and so many others are the examples of what we can do and accomplish together when we care.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and wish you all peace, love, and joy in your lives...and may 2008 find all our
military families reunited with their loved ones, and true hope for peace on Earth. And, as I like to say, let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.
Carla J. Hitz