Published November 2009 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
Byrd's-Eye View By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd HOLIDAY GREETINGS FOR AMERICA' HEROES Spending the holidays away from family and friends is difficult for anyone, but it is even more stressful for individuals serving tours of duty in combat zones or hospitalized while recovering from battlefield injuries. Holidays are also difficult for the families lighting the candles, baking the cookies, or decorating the tree without the companionship of their uniformed family member. Kind words and warm wishes to let our military heroes, families, and veterans know that they are in our thoughts and prayers are always appreciated, but they mean even more during the Christmas • season.
With that thought in mind, I hope that many West Virginians will join in the Red Cross's "Holiday Mail for Heroes" campaign. Begun in 2007, when the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., asked the Red Cross to distribute thousands of holiday cards to members of the military, the program grew to include more than 1.4 million holiday greetings sent from Americans to service members, veterans• and their families around the world.
In 2009, the Red Cross, with logistical help from corporate partner Pitney Bowes, hopes to reach even more service members and veterans who may be spending the holidays away from home. The United States has 1.4 million active duty members, reservists and guards on duty, and more than 24 million veterans.
If you and your family would like to warm the heart of a service member, their family, or a veteran this Christmas, send your card before December 7th to: Holiday Mail for Heroes P.O. Box 5456 Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456
Be sure to affix adequate postage. The Red Cross has requested that you not include excessive glitter, inserts, money or "care packages," as these will cause your card to be discarded during processing. Address cards to "Dear Service Member, Family or Veteran," and sign them, but do not send letters or personal information such as home or email addresses.
Red Cross and Pitney Bowes volunteers will screen the cards for hazardous materials, sort, package, and deliver them to military bases and hospitals, veteran's hospitals and other locations in the United States and abroad during the holidays.
The thousands of hours offered by these volunteers and the support provided by Pitney Bowes demonstrate the generosity and caring that are in the true spirit of Christmas. Please consider joining them in sharing a bit of your Christmas spirit with our military service members, their families, and our Nation's veterans. It will mean so much.