How do you support the troops?

I caught a bit of an interview on C-SPAN2 this evening of an interview with former Marine Captain Nathaniel Fick, who authored “One Bullet Away : The Making of a Marine Officer“. I have to admit I’m not too sure how I feel about the man as an author or political/military spokesman (I have not yet read his book), but he did say one thing that caught my attention:

Everyone (disregard the fruitcakes running rampant in Seattle for the moment) says “I support the troops”, but how? How do you support the troops?

Do you believe that simply saying “I support the troops” is supporting the troops?
Do you believe that slapping a yellow ribbon magnet on your car is supporting the troops?
Do you believe that voting for politicians who actively work to undermine the military is supporting the troops?

I would suggest that anyone who answers any of the above questions “yes” is misguided at best, delusional or an outright liar at worst. Mr. Fick had some good answers for the average American on how they can truly support the troops. I’ll expand a little on those:

There are active duty, reserve, and guard members from all over the country in harms way. They have families in every community in the United States who are getting along without a key member of their family. Each of these families can use your support, be it financial, physical, or just kind words and emotional support.

There are active duty, reserve, and guard members in every community in the United States who have recently returned from service in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere. They may or may not be wounded in some way. Each one of them deserves (and perhaps needs) your thanks, your compassion, and possibly your financial, physical, or emotional support.

There are innumerable agencies in place to provide direct support to those same active duty, guard, and reserve members – each of them relies on donations and volunteers to do their good work. If you cannot find one in your local area, perhaps you could help get one started.

If you are unable to donate money, time, or material goods, perhaps you could simply try writing a heartfelt letter to a servicemember, thanking them for their dedication and sacrifice.

Finally – since I know that many of those reading this are in fact website/blog owners themselves – how about adding a prominent link on your own website and inviting your readers to visit the America Supports You website?


  1. Ok, I’m at a loss here. Why do these families need financial or physical help? Mind you, I’m retired military, and from a military family myself, so I know how it works. These families get a LOT of support (more than my Mother did several years ago when Dad was in Nam) and while the pay isn’t great, it’s as good as many people in the US make.

    Now, for those coming back with injuries, the Department of Defense is taking pretty good care of those folks as well. These folks MAY need some physical help around the house, but in most cases they can get that through DoD as well.

    Now, don’t ge me wrong, I think the letters of support, and your heart felt actions to stop the bad press, but I’m not sure why they need your money!?

  2. I’m retired military as well, and I agree that many, especially active-duty personnel living on or near a base, don’t need the help (they may simply need to learn how to use the help already available to them).

    However! There are folks that have no DoD sponsored support mechanisms near at hand. These folks may be temporary single-parent households headed by young mothers/fathers with little real-world experience. Accident, weather, illness; any unusual circumstance that throws life even further off-track – would be a great example of why someone may need help.

    I’m not suggesting these folks are being left indigent by their spouse’s military duty – I’m suggesting that deeds, far more than words, demonstrate support. Too often we see signs, stickers, or faces on the television giving lip service to the sentiment "I support the troops", but that’s where the support ends.

    Let’s not kid ourselves here. The military does an awesome job of providing for its members – reserve, active and retired – but the system is far from perfect. Every day you can find a story of the soldier who returns home to bill collectors that don’t understand why this wounded veteran can’t work to pay his bills; or the family that loses their home to creditors when dad takes a drop in pay to serve his country.

    I could go on, and you could counter with "but there are laws to protect them", and I’d toss back "then help them get access to legal representation", and so on… and we’d both be right. Bottom line – actions speak louder than words! That was my point to begin with 🙂

  3. It’s amusing that you folks keep stressing the money thing, instead of answering the question originally posed.

    "How do you support the troops?"

    If you don’t have room in your budget to help with things like ( ) USO Care Packages, then just say so. No need to get tangled up in the fact that I mentioned money as a valid way of doing something to support our men at arms.

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