My volunteer community service activity was a recognition day for the soldiers fighting all over the world for the United States. This day was called “Support Our Troops Day” and it recognized all the troops fighting for us. It was created to show the troops fighting around the world, that everyone still at home really does care and appreciate everything they do.I became involved in this activity when I saw a news report about a few soldiers who were killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Something about the report struck me, and I wanted to do something to show the soldiers how much we care about them. I was in charge of the whole project and I had to persuade others into believing and helping take part in it. I sent out tons of letters to representatives, schools, media, senators, congressmen, and other political leaders all over the United States to help get them interested in helping me with this project.
I was motivated to do this activity by all the conflicts going on around the world. When I saw that some soldiers had died from a roadside bomb, I was devastated. From there, I decided I had to do something to prove to the men and women that were fighting for us, that we cared about them. They do so much for our country and on the news we rarely hear any good about what they are doing. I thought creating a national day to recognize the people that are fighting for us right now would be perfect. I came up with the idea for this activity by knowing that I wanted to do something to recognize the soldiers. At first I was just going to do something locally but when I took the idea to my local commissioners, they thought it was a great idea! From there, I decided that I could probably make it a national day since so many people agreed with it. I was inspired to get involved into this activity by my family. My family is always helping others and we are always looking for new ideas to help others. This idea was something we had never thought about before and it seemed perfect. Not only that, but my grandpa fought in the Second World War and he has always been my hero. My grandpa died when I was little, but I knew that he would think this idea was perfect. Not only that, but my grandpa’s birthday was the date of inspiration for Support Our Troops Day, which was March 26th. My volunteer activity began around January of 2006. It began by talking to a local county commissioner about the idea. She thought the idea was marvelous and thought that I should take it to my township, the county, the state, and even the nation. In order for me to take it to all these levels, I had to begin to make many phone calls and send letters to people all over the place. It was so important to do this activity because the soldiers do so much and they hardly ever get recognized by our nation. I wanted everyone to spend one day being proud of everything that the soldiers do for us.
In order to make this activity a success I had to take many steps. I had to write letters to almost every single political figure in Michigan. I had to create a general letter and get all their email addresses, then send it to them. After I sent it to all the political figures, I sent it to schools around the nation, media around Michigan, and I even emailed the president and people like Oprah. I sent letters to all these people because I wanted them to take part in the special day that this was going to be. Every day up until the day before the event I was writing emails and getting people involved. Many people were interested in helping and I was always talking on the phone or writing letters to them about how to help. I encouraged everyone to let all their friends and family know about the event and try to get as many people to show up as possible. I also began having media interviews from all over and I was just trying to get the word out as much as possible. No one had any negative views about the day and everyone was interested in helping. My township, county, state, and the nation, all set March 26th, 2006 as National Support Our Troops Day through resolutions. From the entire letter sending and passing of words I had people all over helping me make this day all it was. I could list the people that helped me make this day possible, but the list would be too long. From New York to California, people were helping me out. I must mention Eileen Kowall and Congressmen Knollenberg, who really pushed the day to everyone possible and were my stepping stones in making this day possible. Not only that, but my family helped me a lot by giving me all the encouragement possible. They never stopped telling me that I could do it and my mom always took messages for me when I was at school and people called. I never ran into someone during this activity who wasn’t willing to help. The most difficult part on my activity was getting it off the ground and started. At first people weren’t really interested because they didn’t think that a 16-year old girl could really create a national recognition day but they soon figured out that they needed to jump aboard, when it became a county and township resolution.
My volunteer activity accomplished bringing our nation together for an entire day and recognizing the soldiers all around the world who are were fighting for us. All around the United States people observed two minutes of silence at six o’clock on March 26th, 2006 and March 26th, 2007. These days proved to everyone that is fighting for us, that we do really care about them and that we think that they are special and amazing people. This activity benefited everyone who is a citizen of the United States. It also proved that even though we are going through a really hard time we can still come together as one and thank our national heroes for everything that they do. It also benefited the soldiers because it proved to them how much we care about them. The number of people that this day affected is uncountable because so many people took part in it. It affected all the soldiers fighting around the world for us, all the loved ones of the soldiers, everyone that recognized the soldiers on that day, and practically anyone that knew about the day because in some way it made them stop and think about everything that the soldiers do. My activity did not involve fund raising because it was just a day to recognize everything that the soldiers do. My project will continue into the future every year. National Support Our Troops Day will be continued by me until I die and I hope that my children will one day take it up too. This day can never end because it gives the soldiers hope and proves to them that they are our heroes and that we do care about them. March 26th will hopefully always be a day where people around the United States recognize the troops for everything they do.
From this activity I grew so much as a person and I did something that I never even dreamed of achieving. Before this event I had always done things for others but I had never done something that affected so many people. I learned that doing something for others can change that persons’ whole entire outlook on life and that you should never underestimate yourself. Not only that but, I learned how to communicate with political figures better and how to get many people involved in one thing. I also learned how to get a resolution passed in congress and the US Senate and how to do so many things that seem simple but actually require a lot of work. I gained skills such as how to do a successful interview, how to address a crowd of people, and how to organize a citywide event. All the things I learned from Support Our Troops Day made me a much more well-rounded person because I learned many useful and helpful skills that will make me more successful when I try to achieve something. The most memorable part of this activity was all the letters and mementos I received from soldiers. The letters that they wrote were so touching and so heartfelt. One letter that especially touched me was a letter from a soldier named Ryan. He wrote an amazing letter that made me cry and realize in so many ways, why I had to make this day something special for all the soldiers. Not only that, but from Support Our Troops Day I have gained so many friendships from soldiers that never would have been possible without this day. A specific incident that made me feel so good about volunteering was seeing all the families of soldiers that showed up to the event. When they came they had so much love and happiness beaming from them and it made me realize how much they miss their family members and why we need to unite to thank the soldiers. If I was to talk to other young people about my experience I would tell them never to underestimate themselves because anything is possible. Also, that any idea that they have they should work to achieve because it is possible. Not only that, but in the end it will be so worthwhile and they will have accomplished something great. I would also tell them that they always need to remember and recognize anyone that they know that is fighting for our country, or has fought for our country because without all the soldiers, our country would not be what it is.
I am still continuing with this project, and I never plan on quiting. In 2007, Support Our Troops Day was juts as much of a success as in 2006. There was unfortunately no national resolution passed, but I have already began to work on the national resolution for 2008. Even though there was no national resolution for 2007, there were still state, county, and townships resolutions passed. Many people showed up to the program, and we all thanked the soldiers just as we did in 2006. Without, all the help I received from everyone, this program would not be what it was!
Although the project was so successful both years, I had to overcome many obstacles. Many adults and political figures did not believe that a sixteen year-old girl was capable of gathering a nation together to thank the soldiers for everything that they do for us. Although with all of my work and devotion, I proved them wrong and waged a successful day. I have proven myself to many adults and they have now realized all that one person, let alone a teenager can do! There are still many people out there that do not believe in my program but through the help of our past events and happenings, I plan to show them what our nation can do if we all work together!
The website for my program is http://supportourtroopsday.googlepages.com