Note: Cross-posted at Daily Kos.
Simply: I hope you know it matters. And please don’t just take my word for it, and yes, one of the things I love about the netroots is that you don’t take anyone’s word for it — you think for yourself, you debate, you disagree, and you make your own judgments — and that’s why this movement has changed politics and political dialogue.
But on this topic, I know of what I speak. In my Senate office I have a shelf of scrapbooks filled with emails, letters and photos from soldiers who have received the care packages, Christmas stockings, Easter baskets, and Halloween candy that our team, led by our office manager Mary, has been sending since American forces first arrived in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the words of the troops say it all.
One of my former interns, Army Second Lieutenant Rory McGovern writes: “It always helps to have a piece of home come in the mail.”
Army Private Jacob Adkins said: “I appreciate the fact that someone who I don’t even know supports me enough to send a care package.”
One of my favorite emails in our scrapbooks comes not from a soldier but from a soldier’s mother, Kathy Lavin, whose son Ryan received one of our care packages. Kathy writes to tell us that she can finally get a good night’s sleep because of the message she has just received from Ryan: “It’s almost time to take the candle out of the window mom. I am coming home. I love and miss you.”
That’s the power of a care package filled with pieces of home — because “support the troops” is not just a bumper sticker, not just a quick way to shut down a legitimate policy debate, but something real.
There are so many ways you’ve found to support the troops — from the debates here over how and when young Americans should be put in harm’s way — to the efforts I was proud to be a part of with you in 2006 to elect veterans to Congress from Patrick Murphy to Jim Webb — and this selfless effort to send brave Americans a little something from home. We’ve got a lot of work still to do, debates worth having, and fights worth fighting — but I’m grateful that during it all, you took a week again to send an important message of support to those who serve.