I was one of the very lucky ones. When I was in the Army I had pretty safe assignments. I was never to my knowledge shot at, at least not by the enemy, and my only candidacy for a purple heart (not submitted) was when I screeched off all the skin on both hands with rope burns from a fairly inept mission that involved rappelling down a rope. But not only did I finish every day and my tour with a sense of relief and a bucket full of fear, a lot of the people I served with had it worse, much worse. When it was all done, all I wanted was to be held by someone who cared enough to know.
Several years ago my friend Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith began an event called ‘Hug a Soldier,’ and sent it out over the net. In her words, ‘I feel after going through some of my own battles that I came to realize that for our fellow citizens who have offered themselves up for military duty, every day is a blessing. Instead of being ‘appreciated’ on some big commercialized holiday, it is the daily routines and rituals and the little things that are done to be ready for the crises for which we should be grateful.’
Adrienne set the holiday for March 4. She asks all of us to ‘march forth’ and ‘Hug a Soldier.’ I join her and ask you to do the same.
All of us know someone who is serving, or did, and I ask you to join Adrienne and me and hug them. If you can only do it online, then that’s how you do it. And if you can see how that GI, that airman, that sailor or marine has been holding you, then I encourage you to give back just a little bit, to hold him or hold her, and say thank you. Let no one serving us go without a hug of gratitude.
Thanks, and March Forth