Thank you Standing Together Volunteers! Excerpts of a letter from a soldier
Its not even six in the morning and I’m already blinking away the sweat ” I commented. The only response was a half grunt half snore from Panet, our sharpshooter. Who’s chin seemed glued to his chest, moved only by his snores. I had been up since four am for the third time that week and the week had barely started. I could feel the sweat start to run down my arms and on to my hands, again I wiped my sweaty palms on my pants and went back to gripping my gun.. We were all wearing bulletproof ceramic plates which is kind of like wearing a ceramic cooking dish on your upper body. With the weight of the ammo vests and the serious lack of air supply in the jeeps, the sweat was actually a blessedly cooling sensation.a. Now I don’t mean to moan and groan but at that moment I was seriously wondering what series of flawed decisions had led me there. Why were we there? That was always very clear. All you had to do was look back at the kibbutz six hundred meters behind us. Then back at the Hamas controlled houses six hundred meters in front of us, and the answer was pretty clear. It would take less then a minute for a well trained terrorist to cross the fence and make to kibbutz, if we were not there to kill him, of course. But sometimes you can’t help but feel that no one really cares or even knows what we’re doing or what it takes to do it.
So when David Landau and his group of volunteers showed up on our base that afternoon, with much needed energy drinks and deliciously cold ices, I could have sworn I heard some angels singing somewhere. I walked back onto the base tired, dirty, and depressed still wearing my gear, as I approached the barracks I was greeted by a Standing Together volunteer with a contagious smile. She handed me an energy drink in one hand an ices in the other and planted a green heart shaped sticker on my vest. I was reminded at that moment that everything we had been through was not only appreciated, but that I was proud and happy to be doing it. I felt honored and loved.. There was a tangible feeling of genuine excitement, you could hear the snippets of conversation among the soldiers. “Who are these people”, “You gotta love Americans”, ” You think I can get seconds”. Soldiers from every corner of the base started flowing towards David’s trailer. Sergeants, Lieutenants, and even Captains were walking around proudly wearing those heart shaped stickers on their shirts. In seconds combat hardened sabras had transformed into gleeful kindergarteners who had just earned a sticker from their teacher. It was amazing to see and at first I couldn’t explain it. But as the day went on and David and his crew said goodbye I noticed something. I started to see the wisdom in the stickers. They were like a symbol or reminder of what we fight for. A nation that loves and cares for each other, and we are the ones who have the privilege of protecting it. I could see the guys leaving for the next patrol with the stickers still with them. The next morning when I got up well before the crack of dawn it was an entirely different experience. I felt proud and energized such a small and simple gesture had made such a difference. As I hopped into the jeep I saw the inside of the bulletproof armor plastered with green heart shaped stickers.
Help spread the word about what a difference we make. Ask everyone you know to join our mailing list, donate warm winter gear and join our volunteer corps. Visit www.stogether.org for more information.
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