since the invention of war, people not participating in the actual military actions have always demonstrated their support for the troops. wearing yellow ribbons during the persian gulf conflict in the early 1990's signified a person's support. post-9/11, american flags were flown over every semi-official building, on every automobile, and served as backgrounds for every news show on television in record numbers. in 2008-2009, the one true symbol of troop support and patriotism has been to send Matty America toothbrushes. apparently i am lacking in the dental hygeine department (photo of Mr. America circa December 2008), and people in droves are trying to subtlely trying to tell me that i need to focus more on brushing than on gargling with soda.
as the years have passed here, so have soldiers' needs. in 2003 i would have gladly traded 50% of my ammunition for a clean pair of socks. after a few months of communicating this need with the people at home, i had actaully amassed enough socks to wear a brand new pair every day (which i did for almost 4 straight months.) in 2005 it took almost 7 months to stem the incredible flow of socks that i was receiving. the one issue was that i had enough socks and was in dire need of snacks. this tour, for whatever reason, has brought with it a glut of toothbrushes and toothpaste.
i am a hygenic person. i shower daily and cannot fall asleep if i havent brushed my teeth. that said, i cannot fathom a use for enough toothbrushes to scrub my teeth, clean my weapon, detail a few cars, throw some at our 'dentally-challenged' soldiers, and still have a few dozen to donate to charity.
i realize i might be coming off as slightly ingrateful, which is not my intent here. i am infinitely appreciative of everything anoyone has sent me. taking the time, effort, and money to mail things halfway around the world is really amazing. there have been a core group of supporters who really make getting mail enjoyable. i am so thankful for the strangers who have gone out of their way to make a difference in my life. i am often so innundated with mail that i give away a good portion of each package (but of course hoarding my favorite things).
it has been my contact with home that has allowed me to push through my tours. i can't imagine having no internet on my bunk now, which means that i am spoiled rotten compared to the rotten conditions in which i lived just 6 years ago. the care packages are my lifeline, and i owe a lot of people thanks for all of the work they put into keeping my morale up. i honestly dont know where id be without turkey jerky, dried fruit, bunnies, socks, and toothbrushes. thank you.
recap: don't send toothbrushes, thanks to al gore for the internet, mmm turkey jerky