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Friday Feature

July 17, 2009

I got an e-mail yesterday from a friend who is an officer (former) and a gentleman (still), and when I found out what he was up to, I couldn’t click the donate button fast enough. The rest of the words are his:

As a nation, we have lost more than 5,000 service members in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Perhaps more sobering is the fact that more than 4,000 American children have lost at least one parent in the global war on terror. No Greater Sacrifice (NGS) is working to raise enough money to pay for the education of these children whose parents so bravely sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

I was lucky in many respects to have served as a Navy submarine officer after the Cold War ended but before 9/11. So while I watched an awful lot of tearful goodbyes from my shipmates’ wives and children standing on the pier, every one of those husbands and fathers came home safely at the end of each deployment. This is too often not the case these days, and the thought of those goodbyes being final is heartbreaking to me. The name of our organization, in my view, could not be more appropriate.

At the time of the 2004 presidential election, about 900 service members had been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the nation was on edge as that number approached 1,000. In recent weeks, the number of fatalities exceeded 5,000, but somehow it seems like our collective edginess has dwindled…that perhaps we’ve numbed to the statistics. Reminding folks is in high order, and often the best way is to shine a light on the loss that is being suffered all around us.

I have worked closely with NGS for over a year, and this year I’ll be running the Chicago Half Marathon on September 13 to help pay for the college educations of Zach (age 8), Levi (6), Sam (5), and Hannah (3) Jackson, four siblings who lost their father in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006. You can read the story of Staff Sergeant William S. Jackson II on the NGS Endurance Web site.

I’m writing to ask you to please consider making a donation.  All donations will be used solely for the education and support of the children of service members whose lives are lost as a result of service in the global war on terror or future conflicts. NGS is staffed entirely by volunteers like me and does not have any paid employees or professional fund raisers.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Basinah permalink
    July 17, 2009 8:43 am

    An amazing initiative. Kudos to you for all your work.

    I am one of your Canadian MilSpouse followers. Recently, some of our members of parliament and retired military staff have been approaching universities to offer free tuition to children of fallen service members. Last I heard, 4 major Universities have made the commitment, and more are likely to follow.

    Just another tool for your tool box to honour these kids and the memory of their parent.


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