America Supports You: Troops Can Thank Public for Support
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2007 – The Defense Department’ America Supports You program is inviting troops serving around the world to e-mail messages of thanks for support they receive from home.
America Supports You connects citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.
“We sent an e-mail to Iraq asking troops to send a response” to notes of support from Americans, said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison.
Servicemembers, like Angie, an airman serving in Iraq, indeed sent messages thanking the public for its support. She wrote: “Your support means so much, especially during the holidays. God Bless.”
Barber is hoping troops around the globe will participate, as well. Troops serving anywhere in the world are encouraged to e-mail brief messages to firstname.lastname@example.org to communicate their gratitude for support from back home. Messages must be received by Nov. 9.
The public will be able to view these messages on the America Supports You Web site from 6 a.m. Nov. 17 until midnight Nov. 22 during the America Supports You program’s “Giving Thanks” initiative.
Between those dates, people wishing to express gratitude to the troops for their service can text a brief one- or two-line message to 89279. Each text message sent will receive a response previously submitted from an active-duty servicemember.
“This is a simple way to connect our citizens to our soldiers using modern technology,” Barber said. “We know that thousands of families will be sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner and thinking about loved ones who are far away from home serving their country.”
She said she’s counting on other American families to take a moment during their holiday celebration to think of those families and their family members who are serving and say, “Thanks.”
“The reassurance that others are thinking about them will mean a lot to our troops,” Barber said.
In addition to featuring troop messages, during the six days of Giving Thanks, the America Supports You Web site will keep count of how many messages have been received and provide a sampling of messages from the public.
In an effort to reach the Hispanic community, which is represented in large numbers in the armed services, America Supports You is working with Interlex, an advertising, marketing and public relations firm with multicultural capabilities.
“What we are doing is complementing the general market efforts to mobilize the Hispanic community to become involved in America Supports You,” said Rolando Rodriguez, Interlex’s managing director for public relations and community-based outreach. “Obviously that’s important because many Hispanics do consume different press than the general market would.”
The firm’s goal is to inform the Hispanic communities that a number of Hispanic youth are serving in the military. “There (also) are a number of Hispanic families that (will be) impacted during the holidays because (the servicemembers) are not sitting at the table with them, so it’s important to show their appreciation,” Rodriguez said.
He added that his team is working to get the message out to the Hispanic communities in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Dallas through Spanish-language media outlets, as well as entertainment and sporting venues. These are the same types of venues that will carry information about the America Supports You “Giving Thanks” program to the general market.