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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Valentine Cards for the Troops

“The presenter for our church’s next ladies group meeting had to cancel and we need someone to take her place. We are also making Valentine cards for the troops as part of the program. Can you help us?” The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library, schedules permitting, can present programs to local groups. This event offered an opportunity to share some interesting books available at the library.

Letters are an important part of the lives of the men and women in the military. The books Letters Home, the Ohio Veterans Plaza compiled by Daniel A. Meeks and David E. Aldstadt, A Tribute to Military Families: letters of thanks from our nation's children, and War Letters: extraordinary correspondence from American wars all revealed how those serving our country depend on word from us at home. The letters in the latter book were especially compelling; covering correspondence from the Civil War through the Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Somalia and Bosnia. Additional information was often included with these letters, giving the reader insight into what else was occurring at the time the letters were written and what happened to the writer. Some are very heartrending, including one in the section of World War II letters by Rabbi Alex Goode to his wife, Theresa; written merely hours before his embarking on the USAT Dorchester. It is the last letter he wrote to her. History respectfully remembers him as one of the four chaplains who gave up their life preservers when the Dorchester was sunk by a German torpedo in the North Atlantic on February 3, 1943.

Along with the sometimes funny, sometimes sad, military love letters enjoyed by the ladies, the library staff brought a sampling of our greeting card craft books for ideas. The selection included The Card Book by Susan Attenborough and Simply Cards by Sally Traidman. The card makers found inspiration in the poetry found in the Valentine’s Day edition of Ideals. When making their own cards they took quotations and tweaked them to appropriately recognize the sacrifice made and service given by those in the armed forces.

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