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January 05, 2005


how to write to the wounded

From Diana Hartman, Marine spouse living in Germany, suggestions for writing letters to wounded troops. She visits Landstuhl regularly and carries letters from folks who send along their greetings to injured Marines.

i know most people aren't letter writers per se and concern themselves with writing something of substance, something comforting, something that will really matter...

and that's all good and fine, but it's not that complicated...

in the end, what the wounded like is what distracts them and entertains them...
the reason the guys like the kid's letters is because kids write off the cuff...they say things like "we're so proud of you" and "you're our hero", sure...they also talk about themselves and ask a lot of questions and these are the things the guys enjoy the most...

one of the kid-cards i received to take up there read "Thank you for dying for our country. Get well soon!"...

the kids talk about school, their friends, their family members, their pets, their favorite places to go out to eat, and some even talk about their problems like a bully picking on them or not doing well in math...

the kids are a good guide...

tell the wounded about yourself, things about your hometown, your friends, etc...

the thing is with the kid's letters is that they're so distracting for the wounded person reading it...for a brief moment, their wound and the war is out of their minds...big people have the potential to distract a wounded person for several minutes...use your sense of humor...be very descriptive of your work or your family...talk about things in the future like a family reunion or a promotion...
another thing the kids write that the guys love is gossip...it doesn't matter that the kids are writing about people the wounded will never meet and don't know...we all like dirt on others and there's nothing more distracting than "I was supposed to get a puppy for my birthday but my mom and dad couldn't buy one after my older sister came home pregnant with a big baby. Do you have a sister? Don't get one. They are stupid."...

the guys think these kinds of things are hysterical and will read them aloud to their roommates and hospital staff...

don't stress over what to write, just write...

if you're more comfortable with it, write in microsoft word or in your email program and then print it out in a font that looks like handwriting or handprinting**...

this will give you plenty of leeway and room for error...

of course we want to keep things appropriate, but focus on what you think are the little things in life, the things you might think aren't worth mentioning as these are the very things that interest them most...

this same guide applies to letter writing for those in combat, deployed, or away at school...

you don't have to be so very clever and witty, just be yourself

-diana

** fonts that resemble handwriting/printing:
bradley hand ITC
comic sans MS
kristen ITC
lucida handwriting
monotype corsiva
pristina
rage italic
tempus sans ITC
viner hand ITC

Posted by Deb at January 5, 2005 03:33 PM

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Comments

You remind me of my sister...

Posted by: Mattson at January 5, 2005 04:56 PM

Hi

How do you get an address for the wounded. My son is in Fullujiah and is not hurt but my heart goes out to the ones that are hurt. Let me know how to address letters and care packages

thank you

Posted by: joanne Sweeney at January 6, 2005 09:51 PM

I too would like to know the address to write. It's a very small thing we can do to repay a teeny bit of what we all owe these folks. I know many who want to help, and did for Operation Santa, but we don't know 'the ropes'.

Posted by: Granny at January 7, 2005 12:39 AM

This post couldn't have come at a better time for me. A friend of mine is in Iraq (1/7) & every time I try to write a letter to him it ends up taking me so long. I'm always trying to make sure it will sound just right and I also have a hard time writing about everyday things that happened because I don't think he would want to read about them. My best friend keeps telling me to "just write him what ever is on your mind. Write about how the weather has been, or how your classes are going. Don't worry about making it perfect because it doesn't matter to him. He just wants to get mail from you!" Thank you for the post. I'll write him in the morning & tell him how my night went.

Posted by: Julia at January 14, 2005 09:03 PM

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