From Letters To Emails

The other day I had emailed a fellow Blue Star mom who also has a daughter and son in law in the Army.  We mentioned the wonderful world of technology and the ability to be in constant contact with our loved ones deployed.

I started thinking back to  30 years ago when my husband re-enlisted in the Army.    His MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was in Communications.  At his duty station at MacDill AFB, Florida, he would go often for TDY (Temporary Duty Assignment) which meant his duty would take him to destinations across the globe to train in all types of climates and regions.  He was always gone long enough to miss, but not long enough for letters.  We did not have home computers, internet, and emails, nor did we have cell phones. I  learned to live with the motto “no news is good news”.

I was actually one of the lucky ones, because of his job at setting up communications, he always had access to a phone line.  And they were sometimes allowed to call at least once during their TDY.  At one time he called home and said, “guess what I am calling on”?  They had to test the White House lines – which we called the red phone and were giving permission to call their families.  So I can honestly say I got a call from the White House infamous red phone!

Other than that time, we would correspond through letters.  25 years later our son would leave for his first deployment and my husband for his last deployment,  emails would replace letters and talking via internet was introduced.  At first the families made appointments with the unit to speak with their husbands and sons through an  internet link set up by their command. By time our son was deployed again Skype was common and now families were able to talk with their loved ones via the internet from the comfort of their homes and often.  So much had changed in just 20 years in how we would write our deployed loved ones.

Can you imagine sailing from Europe to the new colonies knowing you will never see or hear from your family and friends back home ever again.   Today we travel the globe and call, text and email our loved ones from one destination to the next.

Since 1776 when our country fought for their independence to the first pioneers heading west to the Civil War most ordinary citizens were illiterate and usually could not afford the postage to  mail a letter through the official post.  For those that could read and write they would send letters by way of an acquaintance traveling near the letters’ destination.

During WWI the post office had a challenge to get mail to the troops to France.  Mail would need to go to a central point in NY then shipped by boat to France and from there transported with supplies to where the units were.  So mail was slow at its best and often  would get lost as troops continued to move.  WWII saw an improvement with the introduction of air mail but most mail was still sent by ship transport and then on to where the troops were all over Europe.  Visit NotsofancyNancy to read the letters from her dad to her mom during WWII.

With the organization of the Military Postal Service and the APO (Army/Airforce Post Office) and the FPO (Fleet Post Office) mail would now be easily sent to and from military posts all over the world in peace and war.  Through the Korean Conflict to the Vietnam War and to the conflicts our soldiers have been engaged until recently, letters and packages were sent regularly – but still the soldier’s mail would take days and maybe weeks to make its destination. 

Image courtesy of http://www.Daily Clip Art.net

Today we have email, cell phones,social networks, and talking via Skype.  Although it is not that same as having your loved one home, it is the next best thing. 

Communication has come a long way since the time the colonists first arrived on these shores. Letters have become a thing of the past from a bygone era. But as both my husband and son said, there is nothing like hearing your name during mail call and receiving that letter from home.

{pictures courtesy of google search}
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Lest We Forget

Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  It began as Decoration Day, and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union and Confederate soldiers of the Civil War.

In the North ~ On May 5, 1868, General John Logan in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization for Union Civil War veterans – issued a proclamation that “Decoration Day” should be observed nationwide. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle.

In the South ~  there emerged a separate tradition of Memorial Day and partially merged into the national day of memory. Southern ladies’ organizations and southern schoolchildren had decorated Confederate graves in Richmond and other cities during the Civil War, but each region had its own date. Most dates were in May. Starting in 1866, the Southern states established Confederate Memorial Day, with dates ranging from April 25 to mid-June. By some accounts the Union troops that were buried in the south were also remembered during their national day of memory, by placing flowers on their graves.

By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.

Flags at half-staff until noon

On Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

If you are unable to lower your flag at half-staff then applying a black ribbon on the top of the staff is appropriate.

The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

Remember this Memorial Day ~ Lest we forget…

                   

{These pictures were sent in emails the past week – the artists are unknown}

Recommended Blog “Tips on the Tips”

This blog has great tips on how to handle Military deployments and separations. And while you are checking out the latest tip visit their page http://www.whileyouwereaway.org. The “While You Were Away” series of books and journals are designed to support families experiencing periods of prolonged absence or deployment, moving, re-integration or just life as a military family. Books and journals, as well as professional training and/or workshops, are available for families, educators, support workers (such as school liaison officers, deployment specialists, social workers, families, parents and anyone involved in supporting military families). You can also follow them on Facebook – While You Were Away.

Tips on the Tips

Four Ways to Stay in Touch – Tip #427

 Guest Post By: Heather Smith

As a military family you are used to the nomadic lifestyle and with each move it seems to get harder. You tend to make friends and build bonds that you did not intend. Once you know it’s time to go, you start to prepare for your move. Have no worries there are 4 ways you can keep in contact with your loved ones after the move:

Skype: Probably the most entertaining and easy way to keep in contact with your friends and family is the online video chat. Signing up for an account is fast and easy. You can pay for a premium account to get pay less on international calls or stick to the free version which makes free phone calls to other Skype users. All you need to do is to get your…

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