Operation Gratitude

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American Troops Still in Harm's Way? Oh yeah. Them.

posted on Nov 09 2008 0 Comments


Reprinted from American Thinker
By Kyle-Anne Shiver
When was the last time you saw American soldiers being interviewed in prime time?  When was the last time you saw wall-to-wall coverage of the NYC ticker-tape parades in our soldiers’ honor?  When was the last time you heard an American newsman even acknowledge that we’re still fighting (and WINNING!) a war?

What in tarnation is happening to this great Country?

While not a single day in the past six years has passed without real, flesh-and-red-blooded Americans fighting full-scale war in the Middle East on our behalf — and at our Congress’ behest! — our own media has surrendered to an imbecilic and exclusive obsession with politics.

Stars fill their eyes.  Tingles run up their legs.  Mindlessly they follow candidate wardrobe changes with fascination.  Like idiots, they mistake gossip for hard news.

And they have the nerve to think the rest of us are hicks without brains.

But never fear, real people are here to do the real work that needs to be done.

Operation Gratitude continues their valiant effort to give a little thanks where thanks is more than due.  Thousands and thousands of all-volunteer homefront support forces are gathering from sunup to sundown every day of the week to get care packages to every man and woman in uniform still in harm’s way.

This year’s holiday package drive has been under way for months now.  Volunteers work tirelessly packing each box with goodies, letters and genuine love.

Now this is newsworthy.

What is even more newsworthy is the fact that unless we all pitch in with our dollars, these packages will rot on the shipping deck for want of sufficient postage to get them to our troops in the war zones.  Yes, it costs about $10 per package to actually get them to our soldiers.  And according to America’s Troop Mom, Carolyn Blashek, this is the very first time in Operation Gratitude’s history that she lacks the funds to send those packages to the war zones.

One would think a patriot congressman would sponsor a bill offering free postage to our troops, but alas I’m not holding my breath.

Meanwhile, the tallies are in on how much was spent on this one campaign.  About $5 billion.  Barack Obama, alone, raised more than $600 million.

Operation Gratitude only needs about $500,000 to get every package to our troops.  Only the postage must be paid.  Every single goodie is donated.  Every single man-hour of labor is donated.  Every single dollar raised goes for postage.

And every dollar donated for postage is tax-deductible.

Operation Gratitude spends not a single penny on advertising, fundraising or salaries.  From the stockers, to the packers, to the public relations people and to the managers, it is all love and no money.

Am I passionate about this?  Yes.  Am I personally invested?  Yes.  Am I disgusted with our politicians and their extravagance on meaningless junk?  Yes.  Am I asking every American to donate to Operation Gratitude right now?  Yes.

And this is how I’ve decided to think about these donations.  Every single tax-deductible dollar that we give Operation Gratitude for our troops is a dollar that Barack Obama and Joe Biden will not get for their own squander.

But the bottom line here is that these packages to our troops not only bolster their morale, sometimes they actually save lives.

Every time I talk to Carolyn Blashek, America’s Troop Mom, she tells me another story that sends chills up my spine and often brings tears to my eyes.  This one, though, takes the cake as far as I’m concerned.


It seems that another wonderful American lady, who loves Beanie Babies, convinced Carolyn that these adorable little bean-stuffed critters would make a great addition to OpGrat care packages for the troops.  Since the lady donated a whole lot of them, Carolyn agreed and faithfully included them in packages, not sure what the reactions from grown men and women in a theater of war would be.

Almost immediately, email began arriving, specifically mentioning the Beanie Babies.  Stories were as varied and inventive as the great American ingenuity that inspired them.  Soldiers told of Beanie Baby squad mascots, creative naming projects, competitive games centered upon the latest Beanie Baby, and on an on and on.  Truly, even Carolyn was shocked at the overall success of the Beanie Baby project.  Humorous diversions in hellish circumstances, of course, are as old as war itself, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.

But then, startling revelations began to arrive at the OpGrat headquarters, and the Beanie Baby project took on a whole new meaning.  They were actually saving lives and helping to win the war.

Some of our truly exceptional, brilliant soldiers had the idea to trade the Beanie Babies with Iraqi children for information on hidden IED’s.  The children, so bereft of toys, gladly showed soldiers where explosives were hidden in exchange for the coveted cuddly critters.

Soldiers saved by a toy, proving once again that God truly works in mysterious ways.  Who could have imagined this?


So, please, please, please dear readers, subtract some dollars from your holiday giving plans and send the money instead to OpGrat.

The swelling in your hearts will more than make up for the shrinking of your wallets.


This is one promise at the end of this campaign season that will not be broken.

Kyle-Anne Shiver is an independent journalist and a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  She blogs at www.commonsenseregained.com .


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