In our small town on the Hudson River, kids are excited about Halloween. In preparation, they picked pumpkins (apparently our house needs at least six), decorated the porch with yarn scarecrows, and planned their trick-or-treating costumes.
The boys, seven and four, are scary this year: a bloody skull and a vampire, respectively. I approved–as long as they are a “nice” bloody skull and a “friendly” vampire.
Our nine-year-old daughter is a groovy pirate. Translation: a pirate with style. Hoop earrings are required as are tattoos and a satin headscarf. Lip gloss likely. She and her fourth-grade friends are into stylish things now.
But they’re also into service. Our local Girl Scout troop has organized a project to collect DVDs, magazines, games, and sports equipment for the troops overseas.
Through their leaders, the girls were in touch via e-mail with an area resident who is serving as a second lieutenant in the 4th infantry in Iraq. He wrote to the troop to say:
It is great to get support from the States. My soldiers and I will be very appreciative of anything you can send us. They would be thrilled to receive playing cards, magazines, games and sporting goods, and DVDs. We have a tent with a TV and DVD player where they get together to watch movies. For food, they would like trail mix, beef jerky and drink mixes — a little snack while on guard or patrol. We will distribute the great gifts to the soldiers who need it and deserve it. I thank you in advance for the supplies and the time you took to get them. It is great to know that our citizens still recognize us out here and support us. God bless America.
At church last Sunday, the girls of troop 2228, in full Scout uniform, took turns speaking to parishioners after each mass. Our daughter spoke with her friend “Giggles” Moran. (That’s not her real name but it’s a tribute to her enthusiasm and irrepressible joy about life in general.)
So Giggles and our daughter got up there and explained what “our brave American soldiers” need to help them unwind and pass time as many of them spend at least a year serving in Iraq.
Afterwards, people dropped money in a basket so the girls’ troop could purchase DVDs and other items for the soldiers. The big box in the vestibule has since begun to fill up with dried snacks, paperback books, cards, and movies. Caddyshack, a collection of Simpsons episodes and Monty Python and the Holy Grail are some of the films that will be shipped off at the end of the month.
Then the kids will run through the autumn leaves giggling and squealing with delight at the unlimited free candy that will be around for the coming post-Halloween days. And in Iraq, the dads and brothers and daughters and sisters and neighbors serving our country will hopefully find a moment to enjoy the treats these same children have happily collected to support “our brave soldiers.”
–Susan Konig is an NRO contributor. She is author of the upcoming book Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road and other lies I tell my children (Fall 2004)