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The Washington Post reports that the Pentagon will not transmit packages or letters addressed to "any soldier", a common practice at the holidays that has been banned since the 9/11 attacks:
The Defense Department has a stern message for those considering playing Santa Claus this holiday season to troops abroad: If you don't know them, don't send it.
The agency is reminding the public that it does not accept unsolicited packages -- even holiday gifts -- to troops stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, the Pentagon explains that unsolicited gifts not only overtaxes their mail-delivery system, delaying packages and letters from family and friends back home, but it also represents a security risk that they hardly need in a time of war. The Pentagon suggests a reasonable alternative -- giving our thanks and our gifts, letters, etc to the families of those deployed overseas during the holidays. That way, we get to show our support and also our recognition of the sacrifice that an entire family makes when one chooses to serve our country in uniform.
If you still want to donate directly to servicemen and women, the Pentagon suggests going through recognized charitable organizations like the Red Cross, which have their own delivery systems. Hopefully, these changes won't impact the Soldiers Angels program, which has been a favorite of the blogosphere for at least the past year. They have a great system designed to "adopt" soldiers, sailors, and Marines stationed overseas, and even includes men and women from the other nations of the Coalition.
Of course, you could also donate to the Spirit of America's Friends of Iraq Blogger Challenge for efforts that create friendship and hope between our men and women in Iraq and the Iraqi people. The contest ends today, and we have already raised over $72,000 in funding. The Northern Alliance team has contributed over $11,000, easily outstripping the nearest competition in the team category, the Fighting Fusiliers from Castle Aaaargh!Sphere It View blog reactions
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