Living on the Homefront Calls For
Just A Little More
Than Putting Magnetic Ribbons on Our Cars

(Let's Cast the Politics Aside and Just Be Ourselves)
Updated 2007

Here at home in America, we have our jobs, families, hobbies and recreation keeping us occupied. Meanwhile, half a world away, our neighbors, friends and loved ones are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, in wars that have now lasted LONGER than World War II.

  I didn't live through World War II, but I know that - from coast to coast - Americans on the 'home front' lived with gas and tire rationing, bought War Bonds, donated to the USO, joined the Red Cross, became air-raid wardens and limited their long distance calls to five minutes. Women entered the work force, most for the very first time. They did all that because they were sending their sons and daughters off to wars around the globe.

  Fast forward to the present. During the last five years, most of us have had those magnetic "Support Our Troops" ribbons on our cars. They cost about two dollars each and probably made a fortune for somebody over in China. But we all showed our support!

  If you stop for a moment to compare THAT effort to the way Americans supported the troops during World War II, you might wonder what has happened to us.

  We can be more like our old selves, and in truth we need to be. More than 3,500 of our young men and women have been killed in the Middle East. More than 24,000 have been wounded in action. Each year, more than 10,000 require medical air transport to the US hospital in Germany for wounds, injuries or disease. Thousands of those then go on to receive care in Walter Reed, Bethesda and our (often woefully inadequate) VA medical system. The system works beautifully: the wounded are silent and unseen, caught in a medical and personal time warp after sacrificing their bodies on the battlefield.

  I know a little about that. I served at Letterman Army hospital in San Francisco when it was receiving Med Evac casualties within 72 hours of their initial injuries on the battlefields of Vietnam. The contrast between working in the hospital and going out into the community was startling. Civilians in the Bay Area didn't know that wounded soldiers - with bodies full of bullets and shrapnel and burns - were receiving care right in their midst. Didn't know that one entire wing of that hospital housed dozens of amputees. Perhaps, like some of today's politicians, they "had other priorities in the '60s" -- and blissfully forgot about those who served their country and paid the price of war.

  The wounds of our Iraq and Afghanistan troops are often far more serious than back then, because medical advances have increased the survivability of severe combat injuries by 60%. They're coming back with injuries far worse than in any other war in history.

  That's seldom in the news. Usually you just hear about the latest death count. We're seldom exposed to the ongoing tragedy that thousands of our young men and women are coming home to endure months and years of recuperation, surgeries, rehabilitation and a difficult readjustment to the 'normal' civilian life that most of us just take for granted.

Here on the homefront today, you really don't have to change your life or make the sacrifices made by your parents and grandparents. You can help support our young men and women - on the battlefield and in the hospitals - by taking just a few moments to visit and contribute at one of the sites below.

Your small donation online will add up with many others to make a great difference in a great many lives.

  • Fisher House -
        Provides lodging for families visiting the wounded in military and VA hospitals across the US
  • Homes For Our Troops -
        Building handicap accessible homes for our severely injured veterans
  • Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund -
        Sponsoring rehab facilities and similar projects for severely injured veterans
  • Armed Services YMCA -
        Gives vets YMCA access for physical rehab and paying YMCA jobs to assist the return to civilian life.
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) -
        A national non-profit organization made up of, and providing services to, all those who have lost a loved one on active duty with the Armed Forces.
  • Disabled American Veterans -
        Helping our returning veterans obtain medical care and disability compensation.
  • USO -
        Bringing a bit of home overseas - including Operation Phone Home calling cards
  • National Military Family Association -
        Aiding families in distress due to the demands of service
  • Army Emergency Relief -
        Aiding families in distress due to the demands of service
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society -
        Aiding families in distress due to the demands of service
  • Air Force Aid Society -
        Aiding families in distress due to the demands of service
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America -
        Improving the quality of life for paralyzed veterans

Informational Link: US military killed and wounded by state