I’ve traveled all over the world and I’ve seen things most Americans would not want to see. The level of poverty…the physical abuse…men working 12-hour days making just $2 a day…women in their 40’s not able to stand up straight because they worked so many hours in the fields…simply horrible living conditions caused by corrupt governments…
In many countries, 5% of the people have 95% of the wealth. Much of that wealth has been accumulated on the backs of the poor. When I fly back into the United States, I always want to fall down and kiss the ground, happy to be home in America. We are blessed to live in this country.
America is not perfect, but it is the greatest country in the world. Every time I travel, I feel safe when I get back inside the borders of the U.S. But this freedom we share did not come without a price. I never pass a military person in an airport that I do not thank, and often I will attempt to buy their meal if they let me.
I just finished reading about the battles my uncle fought in World War II. He was an artillery sergeant in the Philippines and Okinawa during the worse fighting. For three and a half years, he trained and fought in the military campaigns to set the world free. The artillery was often the first section to be attacked from the Japanese suicide bombers. There were even night attacks from enemy soldiers with explosives strapped to their backs. I knew he had gone through hell, but I did not know the extent until I read about the campaigns.
We are blessed to live among true heroes.
Gleaning’s staff was with a local reserve unit as they left Lynchburg for Iraq five years ago. I knew many of the young soldiers and especially the commanding officer, Col Smith. We were there to provide them with high doses of vitamins (a year’s supply for each soldier).
It was the first time I had ever been to a “going away ceremony” and I cried with the families as their precious sons and daughters left their sides. In the weeks and months that followed, we worked with many of these families while the soldiers were gone – repairing homes, helping some with money, and did anything we could for their wives and children.
When the soldiers returned home, I was there too. I’ll never forget the pain I saw in many of the soldiers’ faces. It was as if their minds were still on war alert – not able to make the transition back. Some would struggle to even support their families or work again. War had changed them forever.
Gleaning has worked with veterans for 18 years. As an example, the Salem Veterans Hospital (Virginia) serves 80,000 vets annually. The vets do not receive personal toiletries as part of the benefit system, so we provide them with personal care kits that we manufacture. The leadership at the hospital knows to call us when they run out of these necessary supplies.
When you support Gleaning, you are supporting our veterans. We provide blankets in cold weather for those who cannot live inside a normal home. We have MREs (made ready meals), so these veterans can have warm meals to eat. Many need clothing, food, blankets, personal care kits, and other personal supplies they cannot purchase. So, we do it!!!
I had a chance to meet and know a man who was in the first Navy SEAL Team training. He told me that since he was black, there were those who tried to kill him in the training. It was the early 1950s and race was a major issue. He served seven years in Vietnam and then was trained in CIA tactics doing things we don’t even want to know. I have never felt such honor as when I listened to his story and the love he has for his country. What a great man!!!
As we celebrate the Independence of our country, let us not forget the price paid by so many. My Aunt by marriage lost her two brothers within an hour of each other on D-Day. They were part of the Bedford boys. And, her Mother received the notification on the same day that both “her boys” were not coming home. Let us never forget how many families have lost their sons and daughters so we can celebrate our freedom.
Please do everything you can to help us help the vets. They deserve our respect and our assistance.