Helping The U.S. Troops At Christmastime

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Billy Joel is back with a brand new song for a very special cause. "Christmas in Fallujah" was inspired by letters the piano man received from troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. You won't hear the 58-year-old rocker sing it, though. He gave that honor to a young singer named Cass Dillon, a man Joel felt was closer to the age of the troops themselves.

All the proceeds go to a group called Homes for Our Troops, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that provides specially adapted homes for severely wounded troops and veterans.

Click here to visit Homes for our Troops Web site.
And if you're feeling inspired by Billy Joel's effort, you can get into the act.
As Americans celebrate the holidays with friends and family, nearly 200,000 members of the U.S. Military are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war won't take a break for Christmas, but there are ways to make a soldier's day a little brighter and to say thanks for his or her service.

John Hanson, spokesman for the United Service Organizations (USO), reminded us that the military no longer accepts packages addressed to "Any Soldier" or "Any Wounded Soldier." That practice was discontinued after 9/11 and the anthrax attacks that followed in 2001.

Hanson encourages people to go to their local church or civic organization and obtain a list of men and women from the community who are serving abroad. Packages addressed to specific soldiers will be delivered. Even a holiday card or a note with a friendly message is appreciated.

Another option is to simply donate some time or money to an organization that sends care packages and gifts to the troops.

Other Ways To Help

Check out the Web sites of the following groups to see where your help can be best used.
  • USO
  • America Supports You
  • Operation Home Front
  • Army and Air Force Exchange Service
  • Operation Military Pride
  • HOOAH!!!! Radio - Operation "Rip The Knob Off!"
  • By Tony Maciulis