“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
For my service project, I chose to mail a box to the soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan, filled many of the items they requested. I decided to choose this service project over helping with a Veteran’s Village dinner because there were less people signed up to send a box to Afghanistan at the time, and I thought this would have a more direct impact on someone’s life. The homeless veterans already have people thinking about them and trying to help them in the Tallahassee community, however the currently serving soldiers in Afghanistan might not have anyone to help them. I wanted to show any soldier that may feel forgotten by the rest of the country that there are still people at home thinking about them, and are willing to help them with whatever they may need to make their lives a little more comfortable while they are deployed.
My core value during the in class exercise where that was discussed ended up being loyalty. I believe this service project connects with my core value pretty well, as it was a chance to help those who are loyally serving the United States on their deployment to Afghanistan. Each soldier showed loyalty to their country by signing up for the military in the first place, and shows loyalty every day by continuing to serve instead of deserting or trying to get out of their enlistment somehow. I see it as a civic responsibility to return their loyalty by trying to help them in any way possible, and make their lives at least a little bit happier whenever possible. No soldier should ever feel like those at home don’t care about their well-being and happiness.
This service project also connects well with my major. One of my majors is Political Science, which is primarily based on public service and the government. Everyone serving in the military holds a public service governmental job, and they are vital to the operation of the United States government. Without the military, the government would have no way to secure reliable trade routes such as the oil shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz. There would also be no way to protect the country and its citizens from invasion by another country looking to harm Americans.
It is nice to be able to directly help currently serving soldiers, instead of just reading about them on the news and in political science classes. Most of the material discussed in class about the military is theoretical or historical in nature, and only mentions the military as an organization. There is very little consideration given to individual soldiers and how they feel or what they go through in order to achieve the main objective that is recorded in the history books. Being able to send packages to them directly shows them that it’s not just the mission which is important, they as individuals are also equally as important and should not be overlooked.
I hope this service project had an impact on at least one soldier, showing them that they are being thought about by those at home, and even people they have never met before. I also hope service projects like this will encourage the rest of the community to do similar things, and help the military however they are able to. Having a service project like this as part of an American History class is a great idea, as it really puts things into a more personal perspective. Members of the military aren’t just characters in the stories written in history textbooks, they are people who have sacrificed their own desires and goals in order to help their fellow Americans.