Linda Freedman's experience with Adopt A Platoon.
In February of 2005, I saw a television interview with one of the founders of Adopt A Platoon. I had been looking for a way to support our troops and became a volunteer/supporter by filling out an application on line at www.adoptaplatoon.org. Once I received my "adopted" soldier's information, I promised to send a card or letter once a week and a care package once a month.
Before long I received the name of my first adopted soldier. At that time, Jason was a twenty-year-old Marine stationed in Iraq. He was part of a Humvee convoy that searched for IEDS, escorted supply convoys, and volunteered for highly dangerous missions.
As a volunteer/supporter, my job was to keep the letters and packages going to Iraq, even if I did not hear from my soldier. It was only after sending a few letters and packages that I received my first letter from Jason. But even later, when Jason has access to e-mail, there were long periods of silence from Iraq.
I was channel surfing one morning and came across a story about HeroBracelets. I was reminded of the bracelets that we wore during the Viet Nam era. Some people wore bracelets with the name of someone they knew and some people wore the name of a stranger. The purpose back then was the same as it is now - to honor and remember them, known to us or not. I immediately ordered one bearing the name my adopted soldier, Jason. It was a constant reminder of what our troops endure. I thought about the separation from family and loved ones and the daily uncertainty of the situation so far away. Jason, at first, was only information on a page to me and yet I felt connected to him from the first letter I wrote. My heart ached for the families who constantly heard terrifying news reports and updates. How did they cope?
Jason returned home after his deployment was over and then went to school. I still hear from him from time to time. I have been a volunteer/supporter for nine more troops since then. Most have not been able to write to me, but I have a Hero Bracelet for each of them, and they know it. It reminds me that our freedom is not free. My bracelets keep them in my thoughts and prayers daily and they know that they are not forgotten.