I had the idea on Remembrance Day to do something I’d never done before. I wrote letters to troops.
Let me rewind. My dad’s birthday is Nov. 10. Every year we celebrate his birthday on Remembrance Day because none of us in the family has to work that day.
We have dinner and a few drinks but my dad always makes sure to put on Remembrance Day highlights — whether that is from the local news or the national services in Ottawa.
When I got home I thought about all the times I have heard that men and women in uniform like getting letters and messages from back home. Usually it is from loved ones but I thought I would send random letters to anyone at the military bases and see what I would get back.
I found mailing addresses on the Government of Canada website then sat on the floor in my living room and put pen to paper. Yes, I actually handwrote the letters. (Man, my hand cramped up so fast. I forgot what it feels like to actually use a pen for a long period of time!)
The first letter was a little rambly and more so telling about myself and asking the odd question. Then I changed up the messaging and focused on them. I asked about their years in service, where they are from, the family they have back home.
I got creative — at least I thought so, anyway — and wrote a letter from my dogs. There’s a picture of them hold signs that say “thank you” and “hero.” After I dropped the envelopes in the mailbox I thought to myself, “This could go one of two ways: either the recipient will find it cute or look at it and go, “This guy is nuts.””
All in all I felt good about what I did. Not that I expect to change someone’s life just by sending a letter but hopefully it will be a momentary distraction from what can be pretty serious work over there.
What is cool about sending letters overseas is that if you know the name and rank of a specific Canadian Forces member you can send mail free (at least until the end of the year), according to the government’s website.
Even though Remembrance Day has come and gone we should make a habit of remembering those folks — past and present — for their efforts.