What Civilians Can Do in Times of War
Throughout U.S. history, civilians have made invaluable contributions to overseas war efforts. Who can forget 1940s icon Rosie the Riveter, the plucky welder adorning government-issued posters, urging fellow women to show their patriotism by joining the work force and keeping American manufacturing strong? Scrap metal and rubber drives, gasoline rationing and the sending of food- and clothing-filled care packages to the front lines are just some of the ways those on the home front have supported the troops over the years.

Regardless of your stance on the current war in Iraq, Naomi Drew, author of Hope and Healing: Raising Peaceful Children in an Uncertain World, says it is vital to show support for the troops and their families. You can do so by:  

  •  Refraining from unnecessary travel. If you are thinking of trekking overseas, check the U.S. Department of State Web site for the most current information on travel warnings and related updates. Should your destination carry a travel warning, strongly consider altering your trip or canceling it altogether.

  • Volunteering your time. Many organizations devoted to helping America’s soldiers and civilians could use an extra hand: the United Services Organizations (USO), which has several offices throughout the U.S.; the American Red Cross; local schools and churches; to name a few.

  • Being a good neighbor. Assist those with a family member who is away on military duty. You may consider pitching in with household chores, inviting the family over for dinner and offering to baby-sit or run errands.

  • Sending goodwill messages to the troops. Those serving overseas enjoy receiving a steady stream of mail, whether its postcards, audiocassettes with recorded messages from family and friends, detailed letters or care packages. Length doesn’t matter; just a few kind words from the home front can keep up a soldier’s morale.