America Supports You: Historical Group Continues Serving U.S. Troops
by Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 14, 2008 - Through three military conflicts, beginning with the Civil War, a group of women contributed to the war effort by making bandages for the troops. While they no longer make bandages, the Virginia-based United Daughters of the Confederacy strives to support the country's servicemembers through historical, educational, benevolent, memorial and patriotic means.
"Since we are a country at war against terrorism, the patriotic objective is the one being focused upon at the present time," said Sherry Davis, chairman of patriotic activities for the general, or national, organization.
The organization meets its goals of patriotic outreach in many ways, Davis said. The members offer prayers for servicemembers and the country's leaders, and sends care packages, phone cards, air conditioners and letters. They also send Christmas cards to the troops, with one chapter sending 10,000 cards one holiday season.
United Daughters of the Confederacy also supports the wounded, sending civilian clothing to Germany for those recuperating from injuries.
Appreciation for their support is evident in e-mails members receive from troops serving overseas. A young Marine, Patrick Fike, acted as a mailman of sorts while serving in Baghdad. He received packages from United Daughters of the Confederacy chapters and passed them out to those who got little or no mail.
"We were so blessed to know Patrick and have him do this for us," Davis said. "I certainly didn't ask [him] to send me messages, as he had his family and girlfriend to send to, but he took time to send many to me."
A new supporter of the "America Supports You" program, United Daughters of the Confederacy is hoping to give more to the program than it receives.
America Supports You, a Defense Department program, connects citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.
"We want to give support to our troops and our veterans as we have for all the years since we were organized in 1894," Davis said. "Our efforts warm our hearts and that is the reward received."
Perhaps the affiliation will help to inform the American public about what United Daughters of the Confederacy is undertaking and afford it a new credibility, she added.
"Credibility may come when people learn of the [United Daughters of the Confederacy's] current efforts and know that this organization is not refighting a 150-year-old conflict," Davis said.
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