OpEd: Thoughts on the shootingsPosted by Operation Write Home on Dec 15, 2012 in Homefront Blog | 23 comments
Our country has gone through some horrible tragedies in the mall in Oregon and now at a school in Connecticut; I’ve just been so sad. There are 5 year olds who will never see 6. Little 10 year olds who won’t make it to high school. Shoppers whose errands of holiday cheer turned into a final trip to the mall, abruptly ended by violence. And their parents, grandparents, siblings, friends – whose lives have been irreparably changed. During the grief after losses in my own life, especially during the holiday season, I know that the twinkling lights and holiday cheer shared by those not affected by the loss can increase the depth of sadness. How can life go on for others – when the grief-stricken can’t fathom one foot stepping after the other.
And I thought about our heroes.
Assuredly, some of those deployed in harm’s way are from the Happy Valley and Newtown areas. I can’t imagine what they must be feeling right now. They’re trained to defend. Trained to protect. And yet they are far from home – protecting us from exterior threats…but helpless to do anything at all to stop a single gunman in a small town mall or school. That must hurt them to the core, wondering if they could have done anything if they’d been at home.
I can imagine how treasured mail is to them right now – both outgoing and incoming. Hearing from home that people they love are okay. Writing to tell loved ones that their hearts are at home even though they can’t be there. During the hardest of times, our cards take on more significance than ever.
Our heroes’ safety is also in jeopardy, now more than ever. As their hearts are here at home with us, their minds need to be paying close attention to their surroundings. We need them to take precautions and be safe – and not take out anger or grief in harmful ways. Our support can help them keep up the work they are doing.
Pouring our hearts into our work is one way we can take our grief, confusion, and even anger – and turn it into something beautiful. Make the best card you know how. Don’t short our heroes on a single detail…let them know we’re behind them, even when life is uncertain all around us. Write an uplifting AnyHero letter – and tell them stories about normal life. Let them know we really are okay here at home. Though tragedy has broken our hearts, our letters can free our service members to focus on their life-threatening work.
We’re Americans…here at home as well as the battlefronts around the world. We will get through this tragic time together – and our bonds will be stronger than ever.
God bless America.
Sandy Allnock, President, Operation Write Home