Many are in the National Guard and probably never realized, when they signed on the dotted line and took the oath of enlistment, that they would some day be a part of a war-or peacekeeping effort-that would demand the very best they have to offer.
Already, two from Bladen have been injured in the ongoing violence that has been an everyday occurrence in Iraq since the invasion last year.
Undoubtedly, the most difficult part of the experience for most has been adjusting to being away from family and friends.
But beyond that, life in the hostile environment is undoubtedly difficult to say the least. The uncertainty-the never having the opportunity to let their guard down-that is a fact of daily life in both Iraq and Afghanistan cannot help but be emotionally and physically draining.
Over and beyond that, the soldiers have access to few of the conveniences they've become accustomed to at home. Even many necessities are in short supply.
That is where we here at home can make a difference in their lives. And now, through the "care package" drive that was initiated by our County Commissioners, we have an opportunity to do just that. We can send a little bit of home to each of Bladen's sons and daughters who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The drive is in full swing now and the deadline is quickly approaching to get donations turned in to be packaged for shipping. The deadline to turn in items for the packages is October 1. Organizers of the drive plan to ship the packages in time for them to reach the troops by Thanksgiving.
Many organizations and individuals have already committed to donate items to the drive, but other items are still needed. To find out what items are still needed, contact Carla Evans or Brenda Gooden at Cooperative Extension, 862-4591.
Though the items that are being collected for the care packages are simple and quite inexpensive, they can make a tremendous difference in the lives of our troops. And more than that, it shows that their friends and neighbors back home in Bladen are thinking about them.
Regardless of whether or not we believe the cause is just, our troops need our support. They need to know we care about them. After all, most are there because they care about us.
We urge everyone to support the effort to send a little bit of home to our troops. A package from home can mean a lot.