The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Email from a US Soldier in Iraq during Christmas 2008

Posted December 13, 2008

Sometimes, when you least expect it, something smacks you in the brain and makes you take a long, critical look at yourself.

I received this email this morning. It is from one of the soldiers I correspond with in Iraq; it made me dig deep into myself and I found unexpected inspiration in his simple words. I also felt a bit ashamed, because even though I've always embraced a frugal mentality and lifestyle, I don't always adhere to that mentality during Christmas. While happy-go-lucky on the outside, I've been inwardly agonizing about how to cope with our lack of funds for Christmas presents this year. Yeah, I'm a bit of a hypocrite—time for some self-drubbing.

It's sobering how a short letter from a man whom you've never met and is halfway across the world can suddenly change your whole outlook. God bless you, Staff Sergeant Swader, and thank you for your courage, your patriotism, and your sacrifices. We appreciate all that you and your team do in the name of freedom. The dangers that you face daily are real, and sometimes, even your most ardent supporters forget that when we get wrapped up in our own petty problems. We also appreciate the difficult sacrifices made by your spouses, children, and other family members. Often, the sacrifices they make are forgotten or ignored.

Here's his email:

Just wanted to say thanks for your support. And thanks for your gifts that you sent. Because believe it or not, as a Soldier being deployed as far and as long or even as many times as some of us have, even a small thing like a card from someone saying that they really do miss and support us really helps.

Some people think that they have to go and spend alot of money all the time... But that is not necessarily true. Don't get me wrong - it is also nice to get a package from someone out there that truly cares for what they got...and know what would happen if we did not do what we are doing... and if they had seen some of the things over here, I think that some of the people that say they don't support the military for what ever reason... would probably change their mind, once they had seen how these folks live or have been forced to live by their own people... and I know that I don't ever want my family or yours to have to live through this type of stuff... So I am proud to serve my country, so that we never face things like this lifestyle over here.

Anyway - Thanks again for your individual support, no matter what it is you do for us.

Staff Sergeant Swader