The throw of the dice this week falls on any soldier. The soldier in the photograph is Sergeant Brian Horn, from the 173rd Airborne Brigade taken just before the drive south to liberate Kirkuk, on March 26, 2003.
I discovered Brian because of an e-mail received from a close friend responding to last week’s column, “The Holidays are Coming After You.” Jon Cavan suggested instead of buying for our own, think of the soldiers, and think about sending them a gift. The idea prompted me to email my girlfriend, who is waiting for her soldier to return from Iraq. She told me about Any Soldier.com. I found the website with one click www.anysoldier.com. The link to “Where To Send,” directs you to a list of soldiers that have posted thoughts and needs on the website. You can read their letters and feel something closer to war than what is in the newspaper, or on television. Any soldier is about more than a bumper sticker or a yellow ribbon, it is about adopting a soldier, and sending him or her a package. Imagine what a letter means to a soldier who is the trenches while grenades and bombs explode, and within a fraction of death.
The story of any soldier came about because of Brian Horn, and the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Horn’s family sent their son packages every week when he was deployed to Iraq. Many soldiers in Brian’s unit did not receive packages, some of them did not have a family. Brian and several others in the Brigade, asked the Horn family for help. The Horn family began sending packages to Brian’s unit in August 2003. The word spread to other units, and to conscientious Americans back home. By January 2004, the effort expanded to any soldier in the Armed Services risking his life for ours.
Today they have expanded around the globe, and have more than 869 contacts. Brian’s mother, Sue Horn, developed “Treat Any Soldier,” and designed care packages with the specifications Brian sent. Once you have selected a soldier to adopt, you can send a package right from the website. If you want to make your own gift, they have provided step-by-step instructions on how to send, what to send, and provide the addresses of each soldier.
Any Soldier has touched over 34,000 male soldiers, and 7,000 female soldiers with the help of 869 contacts. What started as family love skyrocketed into worldwide affection.
Once you visit the website, something shifts in your thinking. Suddenly you are not helpless. You can get involved. To find that opening in the worst of times, and make a contribution, reaches beyond intelligent dialogue and waving flags.
This year why not buy for soldiers instead of friends. Let your family know, tell your coworkers, place a bulletin in the conference room. Send your friends a card and tell them their gift went to Any Soldier.
Love has a mind of its own, none of us can control this mystery of emotion whether it is for one person, or a whole Army. If you take something into your heart, over time, it develops and things change. So imagine any soldier, alone and shivering through the night, wondering if anyone is thinking about his or her life. Imagine, you are that fellow American that cares.
When the holidays end and the New Year begins, the packages drop off. Any Soldier asks that you do not stop now! The New Year means more time away from home to a soldier. Begin your Near Year with this resolution, to make a contribution to freedom.
The effort of Any Soldier is 110 percent voluntary, and 100 percent of the profits from “Treat Any Soldier,” are donated to continuing efforts. Any Soldier Inc. is a nonprofit corporation registered in the state of Maryland as of June 2004. Visit the website at http://www.anysoldier.com/ or e-mail: Support@AnySoldier.com
Thank you for your letters. I read them and sometimes I act on them.
Any dice to throw Email: firstname.lastname@example.org