Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02)

This year, my office is conducting an area-wide Christmas and holiday card drive for our troops serving overseas. As the holiday rush rushes upon us, we often forget that many members of our armed forces will be oceans away from their families again this year representing us and the interests of our great nation. We have over 140,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, not counting the thousands in other countries all over the world. Let’s do our part to let our brave men and women serving our country know that we are grateful for their sacrifices.

We have already had an overwhelming response to this project and I know that we will exceed all of our expectations. This all started with an idea of sending cards to our troops by a child at Atascocita Middle School. My staff went right to work on the project and with the help of the Red Cross and their Holiday Cards for Heroes campaign, southeast Texans can send holiday greetings to all branches of our military. My office will be collecting cards until December 8th. No postage is necessary to drop them off at the office, however you can mail them to our office as well – postage is required for that.

We will take care of getting them to the Red Cross and they will distribute them overseas.

Last year, I had the opportunity to go to Landstuhl Military Base in Germany where wounded Americans come from Afghanistan and Iraq. When I found out I was going, I notified my staff to see if we could get local school children to make get-well cards that I could take to the wounded. With just three days notice, they met me at the airport with two suitcases full of 6,000 handmade cards from third, fourth, and fifth graders of the Second Congressional District.

I checked one of the suitcases, but carried on the smaller one. About half way through the flight I open the bag and started reading some of the cards. The person next to me wanted to know what I was doing and I shared a few with him. Next thing I knew, the whole plane was reading them. The cards were going up and down the aisle, and there were a few tears in the background. Amazing things were said in those cards by these Texas school children.

When I got to the base and delivered these cards, it was heartwarming to see what they meant to them. They didn’t know these kids from Texas, but every one of them read them and smiled proudly at the uplifting words of support. They wanted the nurses to tape the cards to the hospital walls and above their beds. There is something about a homemade card, especially from a child.

It is important that we always recognize and remember our troops. The holidays are hard for many that are separated from their families and I encourage everyone – individuals, groups, and organizations to send a card and a few words of thanks. It is because they are away from their families that we get to be with ours.  

Since I am not too good in the arts and crafts department, I found a card online that said it all. On the cover: A Christmas tree made of the words Duty, Honor, Country, Courage, Peace on Earth, and Merry Christmas in dark green for the branches, supported by a trunk made of the words Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard, with a red tree skirt made of the words Life, Liberty and Happiness. The background is red, white and blue, and the tree is topped with a bright yellow star. The inside reads: Forever Grateful for the Gifts beneath our tree. Merry Christmas!

And that’s just the way it is